TEHRAN (RFE/RL) — Georgian Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze called for mutual supplies of electricity between Georgia and Iran through Armenia at the start of a visit to Tehran on Tuesday.
Kaladze was scheduled to meet with his Iranian counterpart Hamid Chitchian and other senior Iranian officials for fresh talks expected to focus on the possibility of Iranian natural supplies to Georgia through a pipeline running across Armenia.
“When we have a surplus of water and hydropower in the spring and summer periods, Iran needs electricity and imports it from Armenia,” Kaladze said in comments to the Georgian Energy Ministry’s press office cited by Russian news agencies.
“We have a possibility of selling electricity to Iran through Armenia [during spring and summer months] and import it from Iran in the winter period — when electricity consumption is at its peak — through Armenia,” he added before the planned talks with Chitchian.
Kaladze, Chitchian, Armenian Energy Minister Yervand Zakharian as well as the chief executive of a Russian electric utility already met in Yerevan in late December to explore ways of significantly boosting power supplies among their countries. Zakharian said afterwards that their countries could do that after two new power transmission lines connecting Armenia with Georgia and Iran go on stream in 2017-2018.
The Georgian and Iranian governments also reportedly negotiated around that time on possible Iranian gas supplies to Georgia via Armenia. The head of the Iranian National Gas Export Company, Alireza Kameli, claimed in early January that two sides have already reached a tentative agreement on the matter.
Georgia has purchased the bulk of its gas from Azerbaijan for the past decade. The Georgian government announced in October that it is now considering buying gas also from Russia or Iran.
Kaladze told journalists in Tbilisi on Monday that the gas supplies will be on the agenda of his trip to Iran. He reiterated that Georgia could soon import Iranian gas via Armenia or Azerbaijan.
“We must make the most of this country’s resources,” the Georgian minister said in Tehran. “We must do everything to implement new and interesting projects.”