Russia: US, not Iran blackmailing world

Tue, 28 Oct 2008 10:19:45 GMT

Moscow has ruled out claims that the OPEC-style gas alliance between Iran, Russia and Qatar could be used to make pressure on the West.

A recent agreement between the three main world gas owners to create a technical committee for joint gas projects has sparked concern among some Western consumers especially the US, claiming the group and particularly Iran wants to control prices as a tool to exert pressure on the West.

Russian Duma vice speaker refused the view that Iran's participation in the triple alliance is a chance for blackmail, Svetlana Korkina, Press TV correspondent in Moscow reported.

“America is not part of any group but it is blackmailing the rest of the world and exerting political, financial and military pressure in order to influence decision making,” said Valery Yazev, who heads also the Russian Gas Society.

Russia, Iran and Qatar control 60 percent of the world's natural gas reserves. The three countries agreed in Tehran last week to set up a gas alliance similar to OPEC.

The Russian official said that the OPEC-style gas alliance would have as the first priority to define the principles of price forming, while it will also deal with a coordination of the schedule of developing new gas deposits and technologies as well as creation of new gas transportation corridors.

Yazev added that Russia's joining the alliance would not affect its long-term gas contracts with European customers.

The big gas three is an informal group at the moment, but it can become very soon a permanent body holding regular meetings. Its charter can be adopted in three weeks, when officials from Russia, Iran and Qatar meet in the Russian capital.

The Moscow talks will take place during the annual forum of gas exporting countries.