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Iran must warm to U.S. before Nabucco

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Iran is in a position to play a role in the Nabucco gas pipeline to Europe, though it needs to establish ties with the United States first, analysts say.

Turkey hosted regional and international supporters in July for the signing of a milestone intergovernmental agreement on the $10.3 billion Nabucco project.

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Nabucco is seen as the foundation to European efforts to diversify an energy sector dependent on Russian natural gas.

Despite political support for Nabucco, the project lacks financial backing and firm commitments from supplier nations.

Janine Mitchell, a research fellow at Columbia University, told an audience at the Center for Strategic Studies under the president of the Republic of Azerbaijan that Iran must first meet with Washington on the issue, the Trend news agency reports.

"To ensure Iran's involvement in Nabucco project, it is necessary to restore friendly relations between Iran and the United States," she said.

Iran was not specifically included in the provisions of the Ankara agreement in order to win the explicit backing of Washington. The language of the Ankara agreement, however, was crafted in such a way that Iran may still play a role.

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