TEHRAN, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said that it would take the gas dispute with Turkmenistan to an international arbitration, Tehran Times daily reported on Saturday.
Last week, Turkmenistan cut natural gas supply to Iran because of the tensions between two countries over the debts owed by the Iranian side.
It happened the day after both countries reached an agreement to continue partnership in gas sphere over the next five years.
NIGC said that it has cleared all its dues and a part of the debt arrears to Turkmenistan's state gas company in different ways these years, which amounts to over 4.5 billion U.S. dollars.
"What remains to be paid is related to the sanction period. Moreover, even in that period in spite of the impossibility of direct payment due to international sanctions (against Iran), huge amounts were paid to Turkmen gas, by the agreement of the sides, in the form of exporting goods and services," NIGC said.
Even in the case of existence of a debt or delay in payment, Turkmen gas shall not be allowed to cut off gas delivery to Iran and such a stoppage shall be a "material breach of the contract," it added.
Turkmen gas signed a gas deal 20 years ago to supply part of the gas consumed in Iran's northern provinces.