Iran for mutual agreement on gas security and investment

New Delhi, Sept 14 | Updated: Sep 15 2005, 05:30am hrs
Tehran has proposed the signing of a comprehensive economic and political cooperation agreement with India. The mutual areas of cooperation between the two countries could be security of gas supplies and opportunities to invest in Iran.

The proposal was mooted by Irans special envoy, Al Larijani, during his visit to India in the first week of September during which he met various government dignitaries, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Mr Larijani said the cooperation between the two countries would be more meaningful in case there is a combined package addressing the economic and political cooperation issues. He has requested us for a clear framework for initiating such a cooperation, a government official told FE.

However, officials agreed that with US raising concerns over Indias expanding ties with Iran, New Delhi will have to adopt a cautious approach while entering into any such agreement with Iran.

Step On The Pedal
Iran says cooperation would be more meaningful if it also addresses economic and political issues
|It has requested India for a clear framework for initiating such a cooperation
|Tehran is keen on sorting out all pending issues concerning gas pipeline and LNG
US President George W Bush reportedly discussed Indias position over Iran during talks on Tuesday with Dr Singh on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

In contrast, during his meeting with the petroleum ministry brass, Mr Lariajani said that Iran considers its ties with India a strategic relationship and is keen on sorting out all pending issues concerning the two big projects the gas pipeline and LNG exports between the two countries.

India has recently entered into a sales purchase agreement (SPA) with Tehran for importing 5 million tonne per annum of LNG. The deal is valued at close to $22 billion and is the biggest ever commercial deal entered into by India in the hydrocarbon sector.

The agreement was executed between Indian oil and gas companies GAIL India, Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum and the National Iranian Gas Export Company Limited (Nigec) in June. But the Nigec board is yet to take the approval of the board of parent company National Iranian Oil Company.