Iraq embraces Iranian oil, gas lines

Feb. 20, 2013 at 6:23 AM
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BAGHDAD, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The Iraqi government said it gave consent to a preliminary agreement to build oil and natural gas pipelines from Iran to Syria.

The Iraqi Cabinet issued a statement, obtained by the Platts news service, saying it consented to "an agreement between the Iraqi Oil Ministry and the Iranian Oil Ministry and the Syrian Oil and Mineral Resources Ministry about a gas pipeline construction project through Iran-Iraq-Syria-Europe and the agreement would be effective from the date signed."

Gas from the project would come from Iran and help support electricity for the Iraqi and Syrian markets. An oil pipeline would run from the southern Iraqi port of Basra and deliver about 1 million barrels of oil per day to the Red Sea port city of Aqaba.

Tehran has raised the prospects of westward-bound pipelines in the past. In 2011, the government said international lenders were lining up to support the multimillion-dollar natural gas 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."

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