Iran Interested in Restarting Bulgarian Oil Refinery Plama -Ambassador

Politics » DIPLOMACY | February 5, 2014, Wednesday // 14:11

Iranian Ambassador to Bulgaria Abdullah Norouzi has said that Teheran and Sofia may boost bilateral economic relations in the spheres of oil and gas supplies and aviation.

In an interview for Pressa daily, the diplomat informs that Iran is interested in restarting the Plama oil refinery in Pleven as soon as possible, stressing the absolute lack of cooperation of the Bulgarian authorities for the initiative. The diplomat even says that it has proven to be an impossible task to trace the owner of the oil refinery.

In a 2012 interview for the Sofia News Agency, then Iranian Ambassador to Bulgaria Golamreza Bageri Mogadam announced that the country was ready to invest in the construction of an oil refinery in Port Varna on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.

According to Abdullah Norouzi, whose term in office as Iranian Ambassador to Bulgaria started on March 5, 2013, Bulgaria is failing to strike the right balance between its commitments to the European Union and the opportunities for cooperation with other countries.

Norouzi points out that he has so far seen three governments change, adding that Bulgaria's current Cabinet is the first one to show a degree of stability and that dialogue with this government proceeds relatively successfully.

He goes on to say that Iran is also interested in boosting Bulgaria's aircraft fleet.

"Bulgaria currently has an airline connection to 17 countries and 23 cities in Europe and if we join forces we can expand the number of destinations to include other countries across the world. The entire Middle East region, and the Caucasus in particular, provide excellent preconditions for launching flight connections," Iran's Ambassador states, adding that the country is ready to increase the number of aircraft of Bulgaria's flag carrier Bulgaria Air.

Asked to comment on Iran's attitude to the "well-founded assumptions" of former Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov about the connection between Hezbollah and the 2012 Burgas bus bombing, he assures that the matter is not considered an unfriendly act on the part of Sofia.

He underscores, however, that Iran does not believe that the assumptions of the Bulgarian authorities concerning the 2012 terror attack at the Sarafovo airport are well-founded.

"The case involves a separate country and an organization based in another country and it has nothing in common with Teheran. Our relations with Bulgaria and with Hezbollah are absolutely unrelated. Hezbollah is a Shiite organization and we feel obliged to help and support all Shiites across the world. But this does not concern Sofia," he states.

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Tags: oil refinery, Plama, Pleven, Iranian Ambassador, aircraft, Bulgaria Air, Burgas bus bombing, Hezbollah, Bulgarian government
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