Development minister starts talks with top Iranian officials

Development minister starts talks with top Iranian officials

Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz (Photo: Today's Zaman)

May 21, 2012, Monday/ 17:32:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz is in Tehran for three days of private meetings with Iran’s top officials.

Yılmaz had a closed-door meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi early Monday morning. That meeting was followed by another with Ali Saidlu, Iranian vice president for international affairs. After that meeting, Yılmaz attended to a luncheon organized by Saidlu in honor of the visit, and lastly participated in a meeting of the Turkey-Iran Joint Business Council.

Yılmaz also heads the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) between Iran and Turkey. A number of economic fissures between Turkey and Iran have recently developed, stemming from issues related to transportation and natural gas. Those problems were also discussed during the meetings.

One of the big issues affecting relations between the two countries relate to the unauthorized transportation of goods. Iranian trucks are normally not authorized to transport goods from Turkey to third-party countries since the two countries do not have an agreement in place on this practice. Turkish businessmen have complained about the illegal practice adopted by Iranian truckers, who declare they are heading for Iran on their paperwork, but actually are going to third-party countries with goods they picked up in Turkey.

There is also an ongoing economic dispute over the high price of the natural gas that Turkey buys from Iran. Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız said in March that the government is getting ready to sue the Middle Eastern country’s administration at an international court of arbitration for a settlement, which the two countries have not been able to reach on their own.

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