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Iranian gas for Iraqi electricity?

BAGHDAD, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Iraq would like to use gas from a pipeline crossing its country from Iran to produce electricity, the country's oil minister said.

Tehran last week called on its partners in Baghdad and Damascus to come to Iran to discuss gas exports to the Mediterranean.

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Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that Baghdad had agreed "in principle" on the construction of the pipeline.

The pipeline could carry around 3.8 billion cubic feet of gas per day through Iraq. Iranian officials said as much as 3.8 million cubic feet of gas per day could be used by Iraq to power electrical plants with gas, something Shahristani said was a key component of the deal.

The minister told RFE/RL that building the pipeline through his country would provide an excellent source of revenue for all parties involved. The United States and the European Union in July each slapped Iran with economic sanctions that target Iran's energy sector, leaving Tehran searching for new revenue streams.

The consortium managing the Nabucco natural gas pipeline planned for Europe, meanwhile, said Iraq would play a role in the project. Iran, however, was ruled out as a participant.

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