Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Namdar Zanganeh (file photo)

Iran open to talks with Turkmenistan over gas dispute

SHANA – Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says Iran has kept doors open for talks with Ashgabat for resolving a gas dispute between the two neighbors.

The official, speaking to reporters on Wednesday, said Turkmenistan has never opted for resorting international arbitration over its gas dispute with Iran, adding if the talks fail to reach any results for the two sides, the case will have to be sorted out through international arbitration.

Earlier this year, Turkmenistan cut gas supplies to Iran, saying that Iran had failed to pay its debt.

Iran claims that it incurred losses because of Turkmenistan’s turning off the tap, but has demanded that the two solve the matter by holding more talks.

On January 1, the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) posted a press release that claimed Turkmengaz, the Turkmen state gas company, had cut gas supplies to Iran — violating a 20-year-old gas deal.

Asked about bringing Iran’s production capacity of 5 million barrels of crude oil and gas condensate, the official said, “We will reach this target.”