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Iran says would not renegotiate gas contract with Turkey


Managing Director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Mohammad Melaki has stressed that Tehran would not renegotiate its agreement with Turkey over the export of gas to the country, IRNA reported from Tehran on Saturday quoting the local press.

The Persian-language newspaper 'Entekhab' quoted Melaki as saying that Iran-Turkey agreement over the exports of gas is a long-term contract, stressing that Ankara cannot refuse to implement it "under the pretext that the prices are too high".

He said Iran was offering a fair deal to Turkey over gas exports, stressing that Tehran could file a complaint against Ankara if it failed to implement the agreement.

Tehran, Melaki vowed, will not back off from its position toward the gas deal with Turkey should the case is taken to the court. The Turkish press on Thursday quoted Turkey's Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Hilmi Guler as saying that Ankara would review the agreement over gas purchases from Iran, arguing that Iran's natural gas is not cheap.

Also, the AFP on Friday quoted a Turkish energy official as saying that Ankara has determined that it is paying too much for the gas it imports from Iran and wants to renegotiate its agreement with Tehran "as soon as possible".

However, the official added, the Turkish government has no intention of suspending gas deliveries from Iran.

The Islamic Republic has already been exporting natural gas to Turkey under a 30-billion-dollar deal, according to which Iran is committed to supply 10 billion cubic meters (350 billion cubic feet) of gas per year.

The two countries launched in December 2001 a 2,577-kilometer pipeline, running from the northeastern city of Tabriz to Ankara, which supplies gas from southern Iran near the Persian Gulf. The gas flow, however, hit a snag after Turkish Energy Minister Zeki Cakan announced last September that his country had halted imports because of its poor quality. Tehran and Ankara ironed out the difference later.

Melaki said the September snag only involved the characteristics of Iran's gas, stressing that there was no mentioning of the price at the time.

The NIGC head further stressed that Iran was not concerned about the agreement between Russia and Turkey over the transfer of gas, stressing that Turkey's agreement with Iran must be implemented.

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