Tajikistan’s Minister of Industry and Energy Gul Sherali says his country has officially demanded to purchase Iran's crude oil during the ninth meeting of two countries’ joint economic commission in Tehran.
“A major topic of bilateral negotiations [during the joint economic commission meeting] was purchasing crude oil from Iran,” the Tajik minister was quoted by Mehr News Agency as saying on Monday.
“In case of a final agreement, Tajikistan’s needed crude oil will be transferred [to the Central Asian country] by rail via Afghanistan,” Sherali added.
He stated that the Iranian crude would be used as feedstock for a Tajik refinery to produce oil products.
“We predict that Tajikistan’s request, which is in line with [increasing] bilateral cooperation between the two countries, will be accepted by the Iranian government,” the Tajik minister said.
Sherali said his country is also ready to import certain oil products from Iran, adding, “Cooperation between Iran and Tajikistan, especially in the economic fields, has reached an acceptable level in recent years.”
On May 29, Iran and Tajikistan wrapped up the ninth meeting of their joint economic commission by signing five agreements to expand cooperation in various fields.
Following the meeting, Iran's Energy Minister Majid Namjou said the two countries had signed five agreements to expand cooperation in such areas as economy, health, energy transfer, power plant construction and transportation.
Tehran and Dushanbe have strengthened their energy and economic cooperation in recent years by signing various agreements in the fields of railroads and the transfer of oil, gas and electricity.
Iran signed an agreement with Tajikistan in 2005 to build the Sangtuda-2 hydroelectric power plant. The plant is currently being constructed on the Vakhsh River in the Khatlon region, 160 kilometers (99 miles) south of Dushanbe.
When the plant comes on stream, it will be a significant milestone in energy independence for Tajikistan, as the country has been experiencing severe energy shortage since it gained independence in 1991.