TEHRAN, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The Iranian and Iraqi governments have taken steps for the construction of a natural gas pipeline that could eventually reach Syria, an official said.
Iran said it plans to build a 56-inch diameter natural gas pipeline from ports near the South Pars natural gas field in the Persian Gulf. Petroleum Ministry spokesman Alireza Nikzad Rahbar said the Iranian government has dubbed the project the Friendship Pipeline, the ministry's news network SHANA reports.
He said Iran and Iraq have taken construction steps, noting the project would eventually reach Syria.
"The gas pipeline will be designed in a way that having enough capacity for gas exports to other Muslim countries including Jordan and Lebanon, (and could) be extended to the border of European countries in order to meet their gas needs, if necessary," SHANA stated.
In August 2011, after a trilateral deal was signed, Tehran said international lenders were lining up to support the multimillion-dollar pipeline project.
When Iranian officials last raised the issue in November, Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said Washington has seen similar reports on the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline "six or seven or 10 or 15 times before and it never seems to materialize."