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Iranian President arrives in Nakhichevan


Tehran, Dec 20, IRNA-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived here Tuesday for a day-long visit to inaugurate a pipeline project to deliver Iranian gas to Nakhichevan.

Ahmadinejad was welcomed at Nakhichevan's airport by Chairman of the Nakhichevan Supreme Council Vasif Talibov Yusif Oglu.

An official welcome ceremony was held for the Iranian president by his Azeri counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, at Nakhichevan's Supreme Council. Senior officials of the two sides attended the ceremony.

Ahmadinejad and Aliyev later held private talks while the two countries' delegations are to hold joint talks within the next few hours.

The two presidents will then head for the Iranian border city of Jolfa to attend the inaugural ceremony of the gas project.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh are accompanying the president in this trip.

The natural gas swap contract between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan was signed by former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in August 2004.

As stipulated in the 25-year contract, Azerbaijan will deliver an initial 80.5 million cubic meters of natural gas to Iran at the Astara border point each year from the date the pipeline is commissioned and Iran will deliver 85 percent of this amount to Nakhichevan at the Jolfa border point.

The amount of gas to be delivered to Iran from Azerbaijan will be staggered, that is, from 80.5 million cubic meters in 2005 to 402.5 million cubic meters in 2009-2024.

The amount of natural gas Iran will deliver to Nakhichevan will also be staggered, that is, from 70 million cubic meters in 2005 to 350 million cubic meters in 2009-2024.

The Autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan is part of the Republic of Azerbaijan although separated by Armenian territory.

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