Iran trying to replace its ally Russia as Europe’s gas supplier via Austria

Iranian gas to Europe via Austria

Iranian gas to Europe via AustriaIranian President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic can be a reliable supplier of energy for Europe, adding that Tehran is ready to transfer gas to the European countries via Austria.

The Iranian president made the remarks in a Tuesday meeting with his Austrian counterpart Heinz Fischer in New York on the sidelines of the 69th UN General Assembly meeting.

Touching on Iran’s nuclear talks with the P5+1, Rouhani said that a final deal could be achieved over Tehran’s atomic energy program provided that both negotiating sides were resolute on achieving an agreement.

“What is important for Iran is to have access to peaceful nuclear technology for the purpose of the country’s development,” he said.

Iran is ready to reach a nuclear agreement with the opposite side by the November 24 deadline, Rouhani said, adding, however, that a final agreement should be made within the framework of the international regulations as well as the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

He called on the European Union (EU) and Austria to facilitate the immediate conclusion of a deal, stressing that a comprehensive agreement would benefit Iran, the EU and all parts to the talks.

Rouhani also called for the promotion of scientific and cultural ties between Iran and Austria.

The Austrian president, for his part, welcomed the expansion of ties with Iran, including in the energy sector.

Fischer also hoped that the conclusion of a final nuclear agreement would contribute to the development of Iran-EU ties.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia, China, the United States, Britain, and France plus Germany – opened a new round of talks in New York on Friday.

Iran and its negotiating partners reached an interim nuclear deal in Geneva last November, which took effect on January 20 and expired six months later. In July, the two sides agreed to extend negotiations until November 24 this year to overcome differences and conclude a comprehensive deal on Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

Russia won’t like it

The Russian ambassador to Iran dismissed last March the reports that Iran would replace Russia as a gas supplier to Europe, as a result of the crisis between Russia and the West over Crimea.

In an interview with the Iranian Students’ News Agency, Levan Jagarian, who is fluent in Persian, said, “Some Iranian analysts are happy about the existence of challenge between Russia and the West.” But he stressed that the idea Iran would be able to exploit the current conflict between Russia and the West or that Russia would reduce its export to Europe leaving room open for Iran to replace Russia “was not serious.”

This is not a new development . In May 2009 it was Rouhani himself – as a representative of the spiritual leader of the Supreme National Security Council – who stated at a round table discussion entitled ‘Iran, Russia and the West’ that Iran was a potential rival for Russia in the war for the European natural gas market. What’s more, according to the latest data from BP, Iran has overtaken Russia as the world leader in proven gas reserves.

Ya Libnan with Agencies