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Iran denies it will pay fines to Turkmenistan over gas imports deal

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian Oil Ministry rejects reports it will pay fines to Turkmenistan over a gas import dispute.

The Iranian Oil Ministry has rejected media reports it has been fined by the International Court of Arbitration (ICC) over a gas import deal with Turkmenistan.

The Monday statement, published on the ministry’s news website, said that Turkmenistan’s state-run gas company Turkmengaz has never sought any indemnity from the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) over delayed payments related to a gas deal that was suspended three years ago over disagreements on price and other issues.

“It is reiterated that despite some media reports, the NIGC has not been ordered to pay any fine and basically, the complaint by the Turkmengaz has not been about ordering a fine,” said the statement.

Turkmengaz stopped supplying gas to Iran in 2017 after the NIGC resisted a demand for price hike while arguing that the quality and quantity of the gas supplied to areas in northeastern Iran was not consistent with the agreement between the two sides.

Media reports earlier on Monday suggested that based on ICC’s verdict, Iran should pay nearly $500 million in interest and fines on delayed payments over the Turkmengaz deal.

Iranian authorities had previously endorsed reports that the country’s debt to Turkmenistan over nearly 10 years of gas imports ending 2017 could amount to $1.5 billion.

However, the Oil Ministry statement rejected the notion it should pay any fines while suggesting that the ICC had ordered Turkmengaz to pay fines over the quality and quantity of the gas supplied to Iran.

The statement said, however, that details of ICC’s ruling would remain confidential unless parties to the dispute decide to publicize them.

The statement said Iran would respect the ruling, expressing hope that it could help the two “neighboring and brotherly countries” to bolster their relations.

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