Iran confirms new accord on exporting natural gas to Turkey

Nov 13, 2002 01:00 AM

Iranian government spokesman Abdullah Ramezanzadeh announced on 16 October that the cabinet has confirmed a new accord on exporting natural gas to Turkey. Turkey had stopped gas imports from Iran due to concern about the quality of the gas.
Khomeini-Shahr parliamentary representative Ali Rezai, who serves in the parliamentary Energy Committee, had dismissed Turkish criticism about gas quality, telling on 8 October, "Turkish claims to that effect are baseless... Ankara has been trying to force Iran to give it a discount on gas prices...."

Ankara's efforts paid off. Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Zeki Cakan visited Tehran and met with his Iranian counterpart, Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh, on 8 October. An apparent result of the meeting was Iran's decision to discount the gas sold to Turkey by more than 9 %.
The percentage of the reduction will increase proportionately with the quantity of imported gas. If Turkey buys all the gas it agreed to buy previously, its discount will exceed 12 %. Moreover, the take-or-pay" amount was decreased from 87 % to 70 %, which effectively means that Turkey can choose not to buy 30 % of the gas it previously pledged to import annually from Iran.

Tehran may be thinking in terms of long-term benefits. Zanganeh described Turkey as the gateway to the European market for Iranian gas when he met with Cakan. Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer spoke about bilateral economic issues with President Khatami during the latter's visit to Istanbul in mid-October.

Source: RFE/RL
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