Turkmenistan’s foreign ministry said on Thursday that the Central Asian country is ready to continue talks with Iran after it abruptly cut off its gas supplies to its southern neighbor.
In a statement on Thursday, the foreign ministry said Ashgabat is ready to continue talks with Iran after cutting gas supplies to Tehran this month, Reuters reported.
Turkmenistan has the right to take the dispute over payments to arbitration, it added.
The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) announced on January 5 that it had struggled enough to resolve disputes with Turkmenistan and had come to the conclusion that the case needed to be taken to international arbitration.
It added that Iran had already paid for the incoming gas as well as parts of its debts to Turkmenistan which amounted to $4.5 billion “through different methods and based on goodwill”.
On January 2, the Turkmens cut off gas supplies to Iran suddenly over what it describes as outstanding debts for previous natural gas sales.
Iran has imported natural gas from Turkmenistan since 1997 for distribution in the north of the country, furthest from the gas resources in the south.
Turkmensistan occasionally raises the prices in the wintertime. In 2006, during days of freezing temperatures and blizzard in Iran, Turkmenistan cut off gas shipments and demanded a nine-fold price increase.
(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)