Tehran, Iran, January 4
By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:
National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) has said it will sue Turkmenistan regarding the gas deal between the two countries.
Turkmenistan has halted supplying gas to Iran since Jan. 1.
The company also said that the Turkmen Foreign Ministry’s intervention in a legal case between the Iranian and Turkmen sides over the gas deal is a violation of agreements the two countries made 20 years ago when they signed the deal, NIGC public relations reported January 4.
Turkmenistan's foreign ministry recently said that its ability to maintain its gas transportation infrastructure has been compromised by Iran's failure to continue paying off old debts since 2013.
Over the past several years, the NIGC has paid for the incoming gas from Turkmenistan and has paid off a part of past debt, which has amounted to $4.5 billion, the company said.
It added that the debts come from the years when Iran could not pay in cash due to imposed sanctions.
Iran, nevertheless, tried to compensate by guaranteeing hundreds of millions of dollars in goods and services to Turkmenistan, the statement further said.
Turkmenistan says it tried to resolve the debt issue with Iran the past year, but has not received any response.
On December 31 Iranian sources said after much negotiations, the two sides had reached a deal to continue the 20-year deal for another five years. However, the following day Turkmenistan halted the gas flow, which keeps houses warm in a few northern Iranian provinces.
A gas pipeline was built between Turkmenistan and Iran in 1997. Another route was completed in 2010, bringing Turkmenistan's annual gas export potential to Iran to 12 billion cubic meters.
Turkmenistan has been exporting gas to Iran under a 1997 agreement.