Iran, Turkmenistan unlikely to settle gas dispute in short term

Business Materials 3 February 2018 15:24 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 3

By Ali Mustafayev – Trend:

Iran and Turkmenistan unlikely to solve their gas dispute in a short period of time, searching other beneficial ways of implementation of gas export/import with other countries, Gianluca Pastori, associate professor of history and political relations in Sacro Cuore Cattolica University in Italy, told Trend.

“Quarrels between Iran and Turkmenistan over gas shipments are recurrent; however, the two countries are linked by a mutual dependence. In the short term, there is no solution,” said Pastori.

The expert added that in the long run, Turkmenistan can reduce its dependence from the Iranian market only if it finds new export markets bypassing Iran.

“Iran asked to open arbitration on the issue, and this is important: it is a sign of its will to solve the issue peacefully. A gas war like the one that raged between Russia and Ukraine in the second half of the 2000's is a risky option for both countries. In my opinion, they will be able to find an agreement,” said political analyst.

Pastori stressed that the will to accede to the China-supported OBOR (One Belt and One Road Initiative) project (whom Iran is an important element) is another strong incentive in this direction.

Turkmenistan stopped gas exports to Iran on January 1, 2017 in a long-running dispute over arrears. The countries still continue to accuse each other in violation of cooperation in this field, despite strategic importance of the energy cooperation between them.