Iran not to allow conflict over interest in Central Asian energy market
Azerbaijan, Baku, March 6 / Trend A.Badalova /
Iran is not able to compete with Russia and China in the Central Asian market and therefore will not allow a conflict over the interest in this region, Energy Security Analysis (ESAI) expert Andrew Reed said.
"Iran cannot afford a deterioration of relations with Russia or China, so it would tread carefully to avoid a conflict over interests in this region," Reed wrote Trend via e-mail.
Currently Iran is expanding its energy cooperation with the Central Asian countries in particular, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Last week Turkmenistan increased its gas supplies to Iran. At the same time, Tajikistan expressed its readiness to buy Iranian oil while European countries approve the embargo of Iranian oil supplies.
Tajik ambassador to Iran stressed the necessity to construct the oil pipeline between the countries, however the details on this project were not disclosed.
The EU formally imposed an oil embargo on Iran and agreed to a freeze on the assets of the Iranian Central Bank on January 23, but existing contracts will be honored until July 1. The EU imports about 20 per cent of Iranian oil which is primarily supplied to the Union's southern countries - Italy, Spain and Greece.
Reed thinks that the relations between Iran and Central Asian countries are generally quite pragmatic.
"These direct neighbors cannot avoid dealing with Iran so easily as some Western countries," Reed said.
However, Iran's ambitions and capabilities are quite limited, Reed said.
"Iran has neither the power of Russia or China, nor much political clout to compete with these two bigger powers in Central Asia," he said.
Earlier European expert on Central Asia, professor Tahsin Djemil told Trend that current approaching between Central Asian and Iran is temporal and Iran will be able to widen its influence in the region. He also added that Central Asian policy does not envisage close cooperation with Iran.