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Armenia 'Honoring' Gas Deal With Iran

Armenian Energy Minister Armen Movsisian told journalists that everything is going according to plan."
YEREVAN -- Armenian Energy Minister Armen Movsisian says that despite complaints by Iranian officials Yerevan is fully complying with an agreement to import natural gas from Iran, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Rasul Salmani, a top executive in Iran's gas exporting company, was quoted by the ISNA news agency as saying last week that the current volume of Iranian gas deliveries is well below the level defined by an Armenian-Iranian supply contract signed in 2004.

Under the terms of the "take-or-pay" agreement, he said Armenia should be buying 3 million cubic meters of gas a day by the end of this year. Salmani said only one-third of that volume is currently flowing through a pipeline inaugurated by the two countries almost one year ago.

He added that Iran could demand compensation from Armenia for any shortfall in delivery. Movsisian dismissed those claims and told RFE/RL on November 12 that the agreement also stipulates that Armenia will import the 3 million cubic meters of gas per day only if it can pay for it with large-scale electricity supplies to Iran.

He said that will happen only after the construction of a third high-voltage transmission line linking the Armenian and Iranian power grids.

Movsisian downplayed any problems in Armenian-Iranian energy cooperation and said, "There is nothing extraordinary in our relations today; everything is going according to plan."