Iran, Turkmenistan sign nine cooperation documents
Senior Iranian and Turkmen officials signed a series of documents ranging from finance to energy in the presence of President Ebrahim Raisi and his Turkmen counterpart Serdar Berdimuhamedow.
The set of nine memorandums of understanding included bilateral cooperation in the fields of investment, transport, transit, environmental protection, television and radio, as well as in trade, economic, scientific, technical and cultural between several provinces of the two countries, the press service of the Iranian president reported on June 15.
After the signing ceremony, President Raisi said Iran was determined to sign a 20-year agreement with Turkmenistan. The statement was made during a joint press conference with President Berdimuhamedov, who arrived in Iran for a two-day visit on June 14.
“During the negotiations, it became clear that both countries have a serious desire to develop relations and implement the agreements reached. More importantly, the two countries are determined to sign a strategic document of 20 years of cooperation,” the Iranian president said.
Raisi added that his visit to the Turkmen capital last year could further activate cooperation between the two countries, especially “in the field of gas exchange, transit and transportation, and good steps have been taken in these areas”.
“In the areas of economy, trade, water, electricity and gas, there are good capacities and areas in both countries to expand cooperation beyond the current level. The agreements and MoUs signed today between the two countries can boost the cooperation between the two countries to a higher level,” he added.
Raisi also described any foreign presence in the region as “problematic” and said that “our common belief is that the presence of foreigners is not a security enhancing factor but creates problems”.
In turn, Berdimuhamedow said that “the energy and transport sector are among the important and strategic sectors of the relations between Tehran and Ashgabat”. He further noted that parties would focus on effectively utilizing these potentials to expand interactions. Berdimuhamedow added that within the framework of the talks, special importance was given to the relations between the two countries in the Caspian Sea.
According to the Turkmen President, the two countries maintain excellent relations within the framework of international organizations and are determined to develop these relations.
Meanwhile, the Turkmen President also met with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during his visit to Iran. During the meeting, Khamenei stressed the need for practical cooperation between the two countries and said, “Iran’s policy of expanding ties with neighboring countries is a completely correct policy.”
For his part, Berdimuhamedov stressed Turkmenistan’s willingness to expand ties with Iran, especially in the fields of gas, electricity and transport.
Following a meeting with Turkmen oil and gas chief Shakhym Abdrakhmanov, Iran’s Oil Minister Javad Owji said Tehran and Ashgabat had agreed to settle the former’s $2 billion gas debt via Baghdad, which owed Tehran about $1.6 billion in unpaid gas royalties.
“Based on our negotiations, the money that is owed to Iran due to gas exports to Iraq will be given to Turkmenistan by Iraq,” the Iranian minister said on June 14.
Iran’s $2 billion debt to Turkmenistan stems from a 2020 International Court of Arbitration (ICA) decision against Tehran. Turkmenistan successfully sued Iran for failing to pay for imported gas between 2007 and 2013.
In November 2021, Iran, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan signed a natural gas swap agreement under which Iran annually delivers 1.5 to 2 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Turkmen gas to the country. ‘Azerbaijan. Earlier this month, Iran and Azerbaijan agreed to double the volume of a gas swap between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.