Athens to Expedite Tehran Oil Payments

Athens to Expedite Tehran Oil PaymentsAthens to Expedite Tehran Oil Payments

Greek officials are working with their Iranian counterparts to thrash out the details of repaying Greece's debt to Iran, accumulated due to financial sanctions against Iran, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Monday.

After holding talks with Greece Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, Zanganeh said intense negotiations are underway to expedite crude oil payments worth $800 million to Iran, IRNA reported.

Pointing to the Hellenic Petroleum's $755 million in unpaid dues, Zanganeh added, "Different proposals have been suggested to settle the big debt."

According to the official, talks are underway to buy Greek refineries' stocks.

"Tadbir Energy Development Group, which owns and operates oil and gas refineries, has shown interest in purchasing Greece refinery's stock and in case it is finalized, the Oil Ministry will endorse it," he added.

"The Oil Ministry does not interfere in buying refineries," he said, noting that such a strategy is welcome and those who embark on it will reap the benefit sooner or later.

Referring to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's upcoming visit to Tehran, the oil minister said, "Plans have been made to settle the issue prior to Tsipras's trip to Tehran so that the dues do not act as an impediment to improve bilateral relations."

Zanganeh believes that unless previous dues are settled, resumption of oil trade will be impossible no matter how interested Greek refiners are in buying Iranian crude.