Tehran is ready to talk to Dhaka about extending the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline to Bangladesh.
Iranian Ambassador to Bangladesh Abbas Vaezi said Iran had negotiated the project with Pakistan and India, and it could definitely be extended to Bangladesh.
Speaking at a discussion by Diplomatic Correspondents’ Association, Bangladesh at National Press Club yesterday, the ambassador said the Iranian government had already spoken to Bangladesh government in this regard.
“But they must have a feasibility study,” he said.
Iran has invited Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Nasrul Hamid to visit Tehran, during which all energy-related issues including the tri-nation gas pipeline can be discussed, the ambassador said.
He said due to the sanction on his country, Pakistan and India could not progress with the project but now that the sanction is going to be lifted very soon, both the countries would start constructing the pipeline.
Iran has built the pipeline up to its border with Pakistan, and now Islamabad and New Delhi are working on building pipeline on their territories.
About the import of crude oil from Iran, Vaezi said Tehran has already expressed its willingness to sell oil to Bangladesh at a special rate.
He proposed that even a barter system is possible under which Iran can export crude oil and in return import different products from Bangladesh, as such arrangement is already in place between Iran and India.
About modernising Eastern Refinery in Bangladesh, he said the issue would be discussed during the energy minister’s visit to Tehran.
Iran is capable of rebuilding and increasing the capacity of the refinery, he said.
Eastern Refinery, the sole oil refinery in Bangladesh, was built with assistance from Iran.
About expansion of trade, he said both the countries enjoy good trade relations but it is much below the expectation.
“Now Iran is ready to have cooperation and trade relations in many fields.”
Iran needs a huge amount of jute for its carpet industry and RMG products for its 77 million people.
The ambassador said Iran procures Bangladeshi RMG products from Europe or some other countries. “But now we can do it directly.”
When asked about the future prospect of recruiting manpower from Bangladesh, he said at present there are some technicians working in some areas including telecommunications, but more opportunities will be created to recruit Bangladeshi manpower after the sanction is lifted.