Georgian Energy Minister visits Iran

Energy Minister, Kakha Kaladze, started visit to Iran on Monday to discuss potential gas imports and cooperation in other areas of energy sector, the Georgian Energy Ministry said, Civil Georgia reports.

“The Georgian and Iranian sides are at this stage studying possibilities of import of Iranian gas to Georgia. Possibilities for implementation of various other investment projects in the energy sector will also be discussed,” the Georgian Energy Ministry said in a brief statement on Monday.

At a public discussion on Georgia’s energy policy, hosted on February 10 by Tbilisi office of Heinrich Böll Foundation, Georgian Deputy Energy Minister Mariam Valishvili said that buying Iranian gas at this stage is not commercially viable for Georgia as it is about 25% more expensive. She said that some type of energy swap arrangements are not ruled out, but it is a long-term perspective and she does not foresee anything tangible for a short-term period.

“But we want to be in the forefront of negotiations with Iran, because the latter is interested with our region and we are interested in this resource [Iran] – so there is a concurrence of interests, but now it’s difficult for me to say what kind of shape this relations may take,” Valishvili said.

Georgian Foreign Minister, Mikheil Janelidze, met his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on the sideline of the security conference in Munich on February 12.

Georgia’s PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili spoke by phone with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on February 8.

Starting from February 15 Georgia reinstated 45-day visa-free rules for Iranian citizens, which were scrapped by Tbilisi in 2013.

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