Iran, Turkmenistan set to cement ties
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the establishment of a new gas pipeline between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkmenistan is a huge step in expanding ties between the two countries, adding that this project is a preface to bigger projects.
Ahmadinejad was referring to the Dovletabad-Sarakhs-Khangiran gas pipeline, due to come on stream by December 20 with initial capacity of 25 million cubic meters per day. The pipeline will enhance Turkmenistan's gas exports to Iran from 8 mcm to 33 mcm. Turkmenistan is home to the world's fourth largest gas reserves and substantial oil reserves.
The Iranian president met Khoje Muhamed Muhamedov Vice-President of Oil and Gas Affairs of Turkmenistan Saturday night and stated that brotherly relations between Tehran and Ashgabat were increasing.
Ahmadinejad pointed out that transportation and energy projects were a foundation for advancement, adding that these ventures would bring prosperity to the two countries and the region.
Muhamedov called for the development of ties between the two nations pointing out that cordial relations between the two have tremendously helped the progress of both countries.
Meanwhile, Iranian Road and Transportation Ministry announced that Iran and Turkmenistan had reached a new agreement on financing a railway project linking Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.
The two sides agreed that Iran would lend $300 million to Turkmenistan for the project that will be paid back with 5.5 percent interest.
The new Gorgan-Atrak-Barekat railway will connect the Persian Gulf to Europe after completion.
Much of Iran's exports to its neighbor consist of foodstuffs, healthcare equipment, automobiles, and advanced technological goods. Turkmenistan's main exports to Iran are natural gas, oil and petrochemical products, as well as textiles.
According to a May 2009 statement from the Iranian ambassador to Turkmenistan Mohammad-Reza Forqani, Turkmenistan is Iran's largest trade partner in Central Asia, with trade expanding by $3.3 billion for 2009, a 40 percent jump compared to 2008 levels. In June 2009, Forqani noted that one Iranian firm was spending $100 million on four different projects in Turkmenistan.