by Marianna Mkrtchyan
Iranian gas can become a favorable alternative to the Russian gas, if the Armenian authorities finally start negotiating on the given issue with Iran, Rubik Minasyan, an Iranian journalist, Armenian by origin, told media in Yerevan, Monday. He said that Iran has repeatedly expressed its readiness to supply gas for a lower tariff, but the Armenian authorities keep ignoring the given proposal.
The journalist is surprised that the Armenian authorities prefer more expensive and low-caloric gas to Iran's cheaper and high-quality gas for both cash payments and in exchange for electric power supply. He is sure that using the Iranian gas as an alternative the Armenian authorities can start negotiations with Gazprom for lower gas import price.
"Iran has repeatedly come out for exporting gas to Europe via Armenia and Georgia, which will ensure also transit payments for Yerevan," Minasyan said.
He called it strange that the Armenian authorities delay with construction of the Iran-Armenia railway despite Iran's readiness to supply technical and engineering assistance.
To recall, yet on 4 December, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Armenia Armen Movsisyan told media that during his visit to Tehran he discussed an increase of the Iranian gas import to Armenia with his Iranian counterpart. However, Iranian Ambassador to Armenia Mohammad Reisi said that there were no such negotiations. He said that Iran sees no problem in increasing gas supply to Armenia if the Armenian party expresses such desire.
During the latest visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Armenia, ArmRusgasprom's 20% shares were transferred to Gazprom, which allowed supplying gas to Armenia for internal Russian tariffs, namely, for $189 per 1000 cu m on the border. Earlier, Russian increased the gas import tariff for Armenia by 30%.