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EghtesadOnline: The natural gas dispute between Iran and Turkmenistan does not constitute a political issue, says Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi.

'The issue is rather a technical and financial one,' Qasemi told reporters on Monday during his bi-weekly press conference.

He said that gas cooperation between Iran and Turkmenistan is nothing new and it goes as back as 1996, according to IRNA.

'In 2006, gas ties between the two countries reached a new point as Turkmengaz, the national gas company of Turkmenistan, increased the gas price its was selling to Iran and for special reasons Tehran accepted the new price terms,' he said.

The two countries were negotiating under a positive atmosphere to reach an agreement on the issue but with a possible prospect for talks to fail, Iran prepared itself by deploying technical and distribution wherewithal in its northern regions, Qasemi said.

'The natural gas Iran imports from Turkmenistan is not of a high volume and it tends to be a specific amount,' he said.

Natural gas imports from Turkmenistan constitute just two or three percent of Iran's domestic production, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

'Through saving some of the natural gas produced domestically, Iran can compensate for the probable shortages,' Qasemi said.

Bahram Qasemi Iran-Turkmenistan trade Turkmenistan gas