Iran says Turkmenistan will have its day in court

Financial Tribune- Tehran is determined to take legal action against Ashgabat over a gas dispute that broke out at the end of last year, says the chief executive of National Iranian Gas Company.

Turkmenistan halted natural gas supplies to Iran in late December, “but this wasn’t part of the (gas export) deal with Iran and we are taking preliminary steps to take the issue to the International Court of Arbitration (ICA)”, Hamidreza Araqi was quoted as saying by ISNA on Sunday.

Tehran is putting together legal documents that will be presented to the arbitration tribunal.

Bitterness lingers over what ensued in the cold winter of 2007-2008, when Turkmenistan, according to NIGC, took advantage of shortages in Iran and jacked up gas prices nine-fold, reportedly to $360 per 1,000 cubic meters from the agreed $40. According to Turkmen officials, Iran’s debt had piled up during that period.

But President Hassan Rouhani’s administration says Turkmenistan has been fully remunerated for its gas exports during the past three and a half years, asserting that the two sides should renegotiate the debt that goes back to the previous government.

“Iranian gas officials proposed forming a joint commission to settle the differences, but the other side had no interest,” according to Araqi.

Nonetheless, the two countries continue with their swap deals despite the recent contention.

“We are now receiving Turkmen gas from the northeast and deliver it to Armenia and Azerbaijan” in the northwest, Araqi said, without referring to the volume of swaps.