ANKARA, Turkey, June 8 (UPI) -- Washington opposes Iranian involvement in the Nabucco gas pipeline to Europe based on the provisions of economic sanctions on Tehran, officials say.
Richard Morningstar, the top U.S. official on Eurasian energy affairs, said Iranian involvement in the Nabucco pipeline violated the terms of the Iran Sanctions Act.
"We don't want to change our policy unless Iran changes its policy," he said.
He also ruled out including Syria in the project, despite Damascus signing recent energy agreements with Iraq and Iran on energy transit. Iran and Iraq have been mentioned as possible Nabucco suppliers amid concerns over meeting the project's gas requirements.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz discounted claims Ankara had dropped plans to purchase 15 percent of the Nabucco gas at a discounted price, saying negotiations were still under way, Turkish daily Today's Zaman reports.
Nabucco would travel from Central Asia to markets in Europe through a predominately Turkish route. Parties to the project in May signed declarations of support, though several outstanding diplomatic issues remain, notably Turkey's bid to join the European Union.
Meanwhile, Morningstar called on Turkey to reach bilateral agreements for Nabucco with Azerbaijan with the goal of signing formal declarations June 25.