TEHRAN – The Iraqi foreign ministry in a statement underlined the importance of bilateral relations with Iran for the country, and announced that Baghdad will not impose the US-sponsored sanctions against Tehran.
Iraq opposed Washington’s request to comply with the US-led sanctions imposed against Iran over its nuclear energy program.
“Our relations with Iran are more important than all other issues or benefits,” the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
Referring to the meetings held between the Iraqi government and US Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen, the statement said that the two sides had not reached any agreements on enforcing sanctions against Iran.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry added that Baghdad has requested an exemption from the US-led sanctions imposed against Iran.
“Our economic relations with Iran will continue and are not in conflict with international resolutions,” an Iraqi official said. … Full article
- The collective punishment of anti-Iran sanctions (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Pakistan risks sanctions over Iran gas deal: WSJ (dawn.com)
- Netanyahu urges ‘military sanctions’ threat against Iran (dailystar.com.lb)
- The Coming Collapse of Iran Sanctions (theuglytruth.wordpress.com)
TEHRAN – Implementation of the Friendship Gas Pipeline project which is due to take Iran’s rich gas reserves to Iraq and Syria was agreed by the Iraqi government, an Iraqi cabinet statement announced.
A Tuesday Iraqi cabinet statement said that Iraq’s Minister for Petroleum Abdel Kareem Luaibi had been authorized to sign the “framework of the agreement” on setting up the strategic pipeline that would also prepare the ground for exporting Iranian gas to Europe through Syria in the future.
The statement added that Luaibi had recently held talks with his Iranian counterpart Rostam Qassemi and Managing Director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Ahmad Qalebani in Tehran regarding the issue.
Late in January, Iranian Oil Ministry Spokesman Alireza Nikzad Rahbar said the country will start exporting natural gas to Baghdad by next summer via an under-construction pipeline between the two countries.
He said that the “friendship” pipeline project between Iran, Iraq and Syria is the most important project currently pursued by the ministry.
The official said if the project is carried out according to schedule, the gas pipeline between Iran and Iraq will be completed next summer, adding that tripartite talks are underway to extend the pipeline to Syria.
He noted that the pipeline would be designed in such a way that it would be able to deliver gas to other Muslim countries like Jordan and Lebanon in the future.
The oil ministers of Iraq, Iran and Syria had signed a preliminary agreement for a $10 billion natural-gas-pipeline deal on July 25, 2011, in Assalouyeh industrial region located in the Southern province of Bushehr.
Iranian oil officials then said Syria would purchase between 20 million to 25 million cubic meters a day of Iranian gas while Iraq had also already signed a deal with Tehran to purchase up to 25 million cubic meters a day to feed its power stations.
The main project, 1,500 km length of piping Assalouyeh gas to Damascus requires $10 billion investment.
The pipeline will transfer a capacity of 110 million cubic meters of natural gas a day to Damascus.
The gas will be produced from the Iranian South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf, which Iran shares with Qatar, and holds estimated reserves of 16 trillion cubic meters of recoverable gas.
Iranian officials have said that Tehran also aims to extend the pipeline to Lebanon and the Mediterranean to supply gas to Europe.
Iran, Iraq, and Syria have signed a memorandum of understanding to expand their trade cooperation and boost the transit of goods through their borders.
Deputy Iranian Roads and Urban Development Minister Shahriyar Afandizadeh told the Fars News Agency on Saturday that the tripartite agreement on transportation and the transit of goods was signed in Tehran last week.
He added that senior Iranian, Iraqi, and Syrian trade officials agreed to facilitate the transport of goods by rail and road.
Afandizadeh noted that a rail line connects Bandar Imam Khomeini on the Persian Gulf in Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan and the town of Shalamcheh on the border with Iraq.
He said plans have been drawn up for the establishment of a railway connection between Shalamcheh and the Iraqi port city of Basra. Once the project is completed, the railway link will stretch to the Syrian port city of Latakia and subsequently to North Africa, the Iranian official stated.
Afandizadeh added that the Iran-Iraq-Syria railroad connection will accelerate the transit of goods from the northern coast of the Persian Gulf to African and European countries and make the process more economical.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran attaches paramount importance to the transit of goods and is seeking to expand its transit ties with neighboring states,” Iran’s deputy roads and urban development minister said.
He also noted that Iran is making efforts to boost the transit of goods from the port city of Chabahar in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan to former Soviet republics.
Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Oman, and Qatar also plan to sign an agreement to enhance transit cooperation in the near future, Afandizadeh said in conclusion.
- Tehran to build gas pipeline to Iraq, Syria (panarmenian.net)
- Iran begins oil production from a joint field with Iraq (alethonews.wordpress.com)
TEHRAN – Turkey grounded a Syria bound Armenian passenger flight to inspect its cargo after a similar move last Wednesday angered Damascus officials who retaliated against the forced landing of the Moscow-Syria flight in Ankara by closing their airspace to all Turkish airliners.
Turkish authorities are searching the Armenian aircraft traveling from Armenia to Syria after it landed in the Eastern city of Erzurum.
Ankara had reportedly demanded, in advance, the on-the-ground cargo inspection in Erzurum as a condition of flying through Turkish airspace.
“There was nothing extraordinary about it. Turkish security forces are currently searching the cargo,” Air Armenia head Arsen Avetisyan told Interfax news agency.
The cargo plane is carrying humanitarian aid to Aleppo.
This incident comes days after the Turkish military forced a Syrian plane traveling from Moscow to Damascus to land in Turkey. Ankara claimed that the civilian aircraft was transporting weapons to Syria. Authorities seized equipment they found in the plane’s luggage before allowing it to resume its flight.
The equipment was spare parts for radar, not weapons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. The components were legally purchased in Russia, and were being delivered to the buyer in Syria.
Turkey and Syria denied each other the use of their respective airspaces after the incident.
TEHRAN – Iranian Minister of Road and Urbanization Ali Nikzad said Ashgabat’s recent decision to annul a contract with an Iranian company over the construction of a key railway linking Iran to the Central Asia does not mean an end to the project and Tehran will accomplish construction of the railway which is a vital North-South corridor.
“The termination of Turkmenistan’s contract with an Iranian company will not affect the two country’s joint railway construction project,” Nikzad told FNA on Monday.
“This railway line will be inaugurated in due time,” the Iranian minister reiterated.
Meantime, he said Turkmenistan might have annulled the contract with the Iranian company in a bid to strike a better deal with the same or a different contractor.
Yet, the Iranian minister underscored that Iran will accomplish its undertakings with regard to this project.
Earlier media reports said that Turkmenistan has annulled a $700 million contract for an Iranian company to build a key section of the key railway line.
The decision was made at a cabinet meeting chaired by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov.
During the cabinet meeting, the Turkmen president said Turkmenistan will build this section independently.
Yesterday, Iran started laying the rail line of a key transit and transportation project linking Iran’s Northern city of Gorgan to IncheBoron in Turkmenistan.
Speaking to FNA, Iranian Deputy Minister of Road and Urbanization Seyed Ahmad Sadeqi said that the last phase of the construction of the railway officially started in a ceremony with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in attendance.
He said that construction of the infrastructures of the 80km long railway has already been finished.
The railway will link Iran to Turkmenistan and then to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and will connect the CIS countries with the Indian Ocean and high seas and the Persian Gulf littoral states.
The primary agreement on the construction of the rail link among Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan was signed between presidents of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan in April 2007 in the city of Turkmenbashi and its final agreement was signed in a summit meeting in Tehran in September of the same year by the three presidents.
The total route of the railway is 1000 kilometers, of which 90 kilometers would be in Iran, 700 kilometers in Turkmenistan and 210 kilometers in Kazakhstan.
The railway facilitates transportation of goods from the Central Asian countries to the Persian Gulf.
- Turkmenistan: Ashgabat Stops Iranian Railroad Project In Its Tracks (eurasiareview.com)
- Iran And Turkmenistan Ready To Develop Trade (rferl.org)
- Iran welcomes Tajik proposal for railroad link to China (alethonews.wordpress.com)