10 Dec 2023
Monday 30 November 2015
Story Code : 190968

Iran: Greece agrees to pay $800 million debt

Greece owes Iran $800 million in an outstanding debt for the oil which it hasbought before 2012, Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says.

Zangeneh discussed on Monday payment of the debt with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias who is visiting Iran at the head of a business delegation to explore potentials for fresh trade.

The two sides agreed to reach a decision on the payment by Greeces biggest oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum in the next few months, Ministry of Petroleums Shana news agency quoted Zangeneh as saying.

In our meeting, the issue was discussed and it was decided that intensive negotiations continue for repayment of this companys debt which is related to the period before sanctions were imposed, he added.

Athens and Tehran are set to settle the debt issue before Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visits Tehran in the next few months, Zangeneh said.

It was decided that the debt issue is resolved before the Greek prime ministers visit to Tehran so that it doesnt create a negative point in the two countries ties.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="555"] FM Kotzias and Minister of Petroleum Zangeneh hold talks at Ministry of Petroleum in Tehran. Shana[/caption]

Annual transactions between Athens and Tehran stood at $1.8 billion before intensified Western sanctions reduced them to a trickle, put around $24 million at present.

In 2011, Greece relied on Iran for more than half of its oil imports during some months after international traders and oil majors halted supplies and banks refused to provide financing for fear that Athens would default on its debts.

Hellenic Petroleum has welcomed Irans return to the oil market as positive for refiners. Zangeneh said the company must clear its dues to Iran for possible resumption of trade after sanctions are lifted against Tehran.

He said cooperation with Greece in other energy sectors is also tied to the settlement of the debt, expressing hope that the problem will be resolved as soon as possible, Shana said.

The minister also said an Iranian private oil and gas contractor, Tadbir Energy Development Group, is interested in buying a stake in a Greek oil refinery, without giving further details.

If an agreement is reached, Ministry of Petroleum will support it, Zangeneh said.

By Press TV
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