Iran’s National Security Council forms committee to resolve Crescent deal row

Iran Materials 7 December 2013 13:00 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec.7

By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Iran's National Security Council has formed a special committee to negotiate for resolving the row over the disputed Crescent deal in The Hague court, the Mehr News Agency quoted Iranian MP Mousa Ahmadi as saying on December 7.

Former Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi is a member of the committee, he added.

The Crescent case will be followed up both in negotiation and compromise methods, he said.

The Crescent contract was signed in 2011. Based on the contract, Iran was supposed to export unrefined natural gas from Salman gas field to the United Arab Emirates for 25 years.

But objections from inside the country led to the cancellation of the contract. Bijan Namdar Zanganeh was Iran's oil minister back then.

During the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian officials repeatedly called the contract shameful.

According to them, the price agreed on in the contract was 14 times below the market price.

In the recent months, especially after the president Rouhani introduced his proposed cabinet to the parliament (Majlis) and before the vote of confidence to Zanganeh, debates on the Crescent contract became popular again.

Based on the contract, Iran was supposed to export some 195 million cubic feet of gas to the United Arab Emirates in the first phase. The figure could be raised to 700 million cubic feet in the next phases.

The agreed price for 1,000 cubic meters of gas was $17.5 in the contract. And the price was fixed for 7 years, The Fars News Agency reported in June.

But back in 2011 Zanganeh and some other oil officials vehemently supported the idea of signing the contract and accused the principalists of ignoring the country's national interests.

"When Iran signed the Crescent contract, the price of gas was low. But the mechanism of increasing the price was included in the contract itself. The weak performance of the previous administration with regards to that option has now led to a $6 billion claim [filed by the UAE] against Iran," Alef News quoted president Rouhani's advisor, Akbar Torkan as saying.