Iran and Afghanistan sign energy agreement

Iran and Afghanistan sign energy agreement

TEHRAN - Agence France-Presse
Iran and Afghanistan sign energy agreement

Iran’s oil minister Rostam Ghasemi attends the opening session of the 160th OPEC meeting on Dec 14 in Vienna. The Islamic republic is set to sell fuel to Afghanistan. AFP photo

Iran has signed a deal with Afghanistan to supply its neighbor with a million tons of fuel oil, petrol and aviation fuel a year, Iranian media reported yesterday without putting a value on the agreement.

The accord was signed on Dec. 26 by the Afghan trade and industry minister, Anwar Ul-Haq Ahady, and Iran’s deputy oil minister, Alireza Zeyghami.

Two-thirds of the export deal was for fuel oil, a category that includes diesel and fuel for agricultural, industrial and heating uses, according to Zeyghami. A quarter was for petrol and around 10 percent was jet fuel, he said.

The agreement was announced as Iran is subject to Western sanctions against its oil and gas sectors over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program. The United States and Europe are poised to increase sanctions in coming weeks.

Iran’s oil ministry in February said it hoped Afghanistan would buy “all its needed (fuel) products from Iran.”

‘We cannot afford to do so’

But the Afghan government responded by saying it could not afford to do so and would continue to also buy from central Asia and Pakistan.

About one third of Afghanistan’s fuel needs, imported from Russia, Turkmenistan and Iraq, transit through Iran.

At the end of 2010, the Islamic republic blocked that transport, saying it suspected the fuel could be used to supply U.S. and other NATO troops in Afghanistan, but the row later subsided.