Turkey to Finance Iran Gas Project

A009056829.jpgThe financing of a $3.5 billion investment in Iranian gas production will come entirely from a state-owned company, as US opposition has put off foreign investors, officials at the Turkish Energy Ministry said yesterday. Washington is urging countries to cut business ties with Iran over its failure to suspend its nuclear energy program, and is spearheading a drive for a third sanctions resolution against Iran in the United Nations Security Council.

The US also plans new unilateral actions as a means to pressure Tehran over its nuclear program, which the US alleges is aimed at building a bomb and Iran says is for peaceful purposes.

Senior Turkish energy officials, who declined to be named, said the Turkish Petroleum Corp. will start investing in Iran’s South Pars gas-field project as soon as a comprehensive agreement is signed in the second half of this month.

Ankara and Tehran signed a memorandum of understanding in July.

“Turkey can completely cover the necessary amount for the investment,” one of the officials said. The official said the project had not sought credit from foreign institutions, given their unwillingness to finance projects linked to Iran.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said he was not aware of the planned $3.5 billion investment, but he reiterated US opposition to such a move.

“In principle, we don’t think it is the right time to be investing in the Iranian oil and gas sector,” Mr. McCormack said.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defended his government’s deal with Iran, saying no country can ask Ankara to give up the relationships it has with energy suppliers.

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