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Iranian Embassy Dismisses Reports on Halting Fuel Shipments to Afghanistan

Source: Fars News Agency, Tehran

The Iranian embassy in Kabul in a statement denied reports that Iran has stopped fuel shipments to Afghanistan, and announced that Tehran has exported 71,501 tons of fuel to its Eastern neighbor in just less than a month.

"Iran sent 17,546 oil tankers weighing 399,764 tons from March 22 to December 21 and 929 oil tankers weighing 71,501 tons from December 22 to January 15 to Afghanistan after the return of Afghan First Vice-President Marshal (Qasim) Fahim from his visit to Tehran," the statement said on Tuesday.

The Iranian embassy also reiterated that a large number of 160 Iranian oil tankers are waiting at Milak-Dougharoun border to enter Afghanistan due to a delay by the Afghan Trade and Industries Ministry in announcing the level of the country's needed fuel.

The statement underlined that in case the Afghan government voiced its agreement, transit of Iranian fuel to the country would continue based on mutual agreements in future.

Iran supplies about 30 percent of Afghanistan's refined fuel, Afghan officials say. The remainder of vehicle and heating fuel comes from Iraq and Turkmenistan and is only transiting Iran, they say.

Senior Afghan officials recently traveled to Tehran to discuss the fuel issue. An afghan official said Iran earlier this month began allowing 40 trucks per day through its borders with three western Afghan provinces, up from about four trucks per day in the preceding two weeks.

The Iranian government fears the fuel would be used by foreign forces.

Earlier, Iranian Ambassador to Afghanistan Fada Hossein Maleki warned Kabul that supplying the NATO forces with the fuel imported from Iran would endanger undisrupted export and transit of Iranian fuel to Afghanistan.

"Transit of fuel from Iran's borders to Afghanistan has returned to its previous and natural trend and Iran has placed no ban on the dispatch of fuel to Afghanistan via its borders," Maleki said earlier this month.

Yet, Maleki cautioned the Afghan officials that if the NATO forces are supplied with the imported Iranian fuel, Tehran would certainly ban the transit of fuel to Afghanistan.

"It is completely natural that no one but the Afghan people are entitled to use the fuel," he said, adding, "The fuel is for the Afghan people, and the government in Kabul should control it."

... Payvand News - 01/19/11 ... --

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