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Turkey defies US with more imports of Iranian gas


Source: Press TV

Iran is increasing its natural gas exports to a number of countries, including Turkey which plans to raise imports from its energy-rich neighbor, a senior official says.  "Based on previous agreements, Iran is currently increasing gas exports to a number of countries including Turkey, Iraq, Armenia and Azerbaijan," head of the National Iranian Gas Company Hassan Montazer Torbati told IRNA.

Iran-Turkey gas pipeline
 (file photo)

Turkey, which currently receives 353 billion cubic feet per year from Iran under a 25-year agreement signed in 2001, has requested to purchase more Iranian natural gas, he said.

Last week, Iran launched four new development phases of the world's largest gas field at South Pars with a capacity to produce 112 million cubic meters per day.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey will continue to buy natural gas from Iran despite US sanctions chiefly targeting the Islamic Republic's energy sector.

Iran is a key energy supplier for Turkey, which is almost 100-percent dependent on fuel imports, with natural gas accounting for nearly 40 percent of the country's electricity production.

The US has pledged to be "aggressive and unwavering" in enforcing economic sanctions on Iran and not allow any country to flout them, but Erdogan has said Turkey would not remain silent to the "use of economic sanctions as weapons".

Iranian deputy industry minister Mohsen Salehinia said early this month that Iran and Turkey were negotiating the possibility of setting up joint industrial parks.

"The Turks are demanding cheap Iranian energy for joint production and in case we manage to reach a conclusion with the ministry of energy, a joint town will be set up," he told a news conference in Tehran.

Iraq also relies on Iran for natural gas that generates as much as 45% of its electricity. Iran transmits another 1,000 megawatts directly, making itself an indispensable energy source for its Arab neighbor.

Last week, the Trump administration said it was extending a 90-day waiver for the second time to let Iraq continue energy imports from Iran.

Like Turkey, Iraqi leaders including Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi have stressed that Baghdad will not be a party to the system of sanctions against Iran.

Iran further exports 35 million cubic feet per day of gas to neighboring Armenia in exchange for electricity. A similar deal is in place with Azerbaijan. 

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