TEHRAN, March 8 (UPI) -- Tehran feels confident that negotiations with Bahrain and Oman have developed to the point that Iran can start gas exports soon, Iranian officials said.
Hojatollah Ghanimifard, a senior Iranian energy official, said his country was ready for gas exports to Bahrain and Oman following a series of negotiations with both countries.
"Considering the results of the meetings and negotiations with Bahraini and Omani officials, I believe that in case the demanding sides announce the final and definite views, Iran will be ready to export gas to the two aforementioned countries," he told the semiofficial Fars News Agency.
Energy talks between Manama and Tehran stalled in 2009 over the fallout from Iranian claims that Bahrain was a province of Iran. Iranian officials later discredited the claims, describing the row as insignificant.
Bahrain, however, is allied with the United States, hosting the U.S. 5th Fleet. The U.S. Senate in January approved a measure that would allow Washington to penalize foreign entities that play a role in Iran's energy sector, unsettling interest in the Iranian energy sector.
Oman, for its part, is in need of natural gas and liquefied natural gas to feed its energy-hungry industries. Natural gas from Iran is slated for delivery to markets in Oman through a 124-mile pipeline along the floor of the Persian Gulf planned for 2012.