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Iran gas sanctions worry Azerbaijan

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A U.S. Senate bill authorizing Washington to sanction gas sales to Iran could target the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic, the Baku government said.

A U.S. Senate measure passed Thursday gives U.S. President Barack Obama the authority to sanction persons or other entities that sell gasoline or refined petroleum products to Iran.

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"The U.S. Senate passed a law potentially fraught with sanctions in respect to SOCAR," the Azerbaijan Business Center notes.

The report from Baku on Friday said SOCAR and its affiliates "occasionally" sell oil and other products to Iran.

Western powers look to Azerbaijan as a major player in emerging energy dynamics in Central Asia. Europe looks to the vast gas resources in Azerbaijan as a potential source for their Nabucco pipeline, which would ease the Russian grip on the regional energy sector.

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