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Iran, Turkmenistan in gas deal

TEHRAN, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Tehran has agreed on a six-month pricing mechanism for natural gas imports from Turkmenistan to supply customers in northeastern Iran, officials said.

Iran holds some of the most abundant gas reserves in the world, but struggles under economic sanctions to keep up with a faltering infrastructure. Gas imports from Turkmenistan were disrupted during the 2008 winter when Ashgabat insisted on a higher price.

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Resa Kasaizadeh, the head of the National Iranian Gas Export Co., said his country reached a deal on a fixed, six-month term for gas imports, the Gulf Daily News said Friday.

"It was agreed that Turkmenistan's gas would be imported to the country with a fixed price in the first six months of the year," he said.

Iran has lobbied to position itself as a regional energy hub from Central Asia to Europe amid pressure from Washington. The deal comes as Europe eyes a gas row between Ukraine and Russia.

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