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Baku, Tehran move closer on energy

Nov. 19, 2010 at 8:55 AM

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Bilateral ties between Azerbaijan and Iran will deepen under the terms of a memorandum of understanding for energy signed in Baku, the Iranian president said.

Officials from Caspian states met in Azerbaijan this week for a regional summit. Iranian and Azeri leaders signed a memorandum of understanding to increase natural gas and electricity swaps.

Azerbaijan sells natural gas to the northern provinces of Iran in exchange for electricity. Iran aims to build infrastructure in the north that would allow it to process more natural gas deliveries from energy-rich Azerbaijan.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for a swift implementation of the bilateral deals.

"Both countries must seriously pursue the process of full and rapid implementation of the reached bilateral agreements," he was quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency as saying.

Tehran said the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan would sell Iran excess gas to meet Iranian needs. The terrain in Iran's north makes it difficult to distribute power.

SOCAR said in October that the reconstruction of two pipelines would give Azerbaijan the capacity needed to increase gas exports.

The company said it doesn't have a long-term export contract with Iran but the work was carried out in preparation for a deal.

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