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India urges Iran to honour gas deal

NEW DELHI, India, April 27, 2007 (AFP) – India has urged Iran to honour a 22-billion dollar natural gas sales deal concluded two years ago, warning Tehran it could lose credibility if it went back on the agreement, a report said Friday.

NEW DELHI, India, April 27, 2007 (AFP) – India has urged Iran to honour a 22-billion dollar natural gas sales deal concluded two years ago, warning Tehran it could lose credibility if it went back on the agreement, a report said Friday.

The message was conveyed to Iran’s leadership during an unscheduled visit to Tehran on Thursday by Indian Oil Minister Murli Deora, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Deora told Iranian officials that Tehran could get business from other countries but stood to lose its credibility as a reliable source of energy if it faltered on the implementation of the June 2005 deal, it reported.

An Indian official accompanying Deora was quoted as saying that the delegation "had a very good 50-minute meeting with the Iranian president, at the end of which Mahmoud (Ahmadinejad) instructed his oil minister to look at ways of early implementation of the deal."

India is supposed to get five million tonnes of liquefied natural gas annually over a 25-year period from 2009 under the 22-billion-dollar-agreement.

But the accord has since hit a snag over pricing, with reports last week saying Iran had decided to ask for more money — at least 5.1 dollars per million British thermal unit (mBtu) instead of the agreed 3.2 dollars.
Late last year, Deora said India was willing to consider a new price provided that it was not too steep.

New Delhi has also said it could offer a higher price for an additional 2.5 million tonnes of gas, separate from the five million tonnes originally agreed to, PTI said.
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