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Iran and representatives of the Energy Charter Secretariat explore cooperation activities

During 19-21 April 2017, a delegation of officials from the Energy Charter Secretariat conducted a visit to Iran in order to explore how Iran’s recent signature of the International Energy Charter can be of practical benefit for the country. Iran signed the International Energy Charter in November 2016 in Tokyo, leading to the emergence of a number of work-streams and cooperation initiatives with the Energy Charter Secretariat since that time. 

During last week’s visit to Tehran, the government of Iran and the Secretariat took these activities further forward. Continuing its enduring efforts to build mutually beneficial cooperation, the Secretariat delegation held extensive meetings with Iranian partners from the Ministry of Energy; the Niroo Research Institute; the Iranian power generation, transmission and distribution company: TAVANIR; and the Iranian state thermal power plants holding company (TPPH). The delegation from the Secretariat also held an information round table with members of the Iranian Parliament, Petroleum and Natural Resources Committee, where Iranian law makers were informed about the legal and political basis of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), the Energy Charter political declarations and other relevant binding and non-binding documents. The informational discussions with MPs received wide media coverage, bringing Iran and the International Energy Charter closer together, and explaining the complimentary role that the Charter plays in relation to OPEC, the IEA, IRENA and other global energy governance actors.  

While Iran is well known internationally as an oil and gas powerhouse, developing the country’s power sector, particularly with respect to exporting electricity, is one of Iran’s energy policy priorities. Within this context, the Ministry of Energy of Iran and the Energy Charter Secretariat plan to co-host a stakeholders’ seminar on regional electricity markets in the Caspian and Gulf region during the summer months. This activity builds on a previous line of work on electricity cooperation in Central Asia and the South Caucasus, which the Secretariat has been developing with stakeholders from those regions in recent years. The prospect of conducting an in-depth, cost-benefit analysis of Iran’s accession to the ECT was also discussed within the context of cooperation between the Secretariat’s Knowledge Centre and Iranian partner institutes from the scientific community. 

The Secretariat delegation also held meetings with the Ambassador of Poland in Tehran, as the Polish embassy was recently designated as one of the Liaison Embassies of the International Energy Charter in Iran, and the Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO), which has its HQ in Tehran. Eight of the ten ECO member countries are also ECT members, and the International Energy Charter was just recently proclaimed as an ECO observer at the ECO Summit held in Islamabad, Pakistan, on March 1, 2017.