Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct.23
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
With new president, Uzbekistan will be more respective to allowing Iranian goods to pass through its territory, Bruce Pannier, US expert on Central Asia and energy issues, told Trend.
“In recent years, railway traffic through Uzbekistan has been a problem, mostly because Tashkent sought to prevent Iranian construction materials for hydropower plants from reaching Tajikistan. Now that there is a new Uzbek president, it is possible he will be more receptive to allowing Iranian goods to pass through Uzbek territory and reach Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan,” said the expert.
As for the prospects for Iranian oil export to Uzbekistan, Pannier noted that oil imports from Iran would be welcome for Uzbekistan, since there is already an existing railway link that could bring the oil.
He pointed out that Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh mentioned the railway route as the likely means for shipping oil to Uzbekistan once a deal has been reached.
Earlier, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has said his country is fully ready to assist Uzbekistan in meeting its energy needs.
“Uzbekistan does not have enough oil and that has been a problem for years, especially at petroleum-filling stations. Since Shavkat Mirziyoyev took over as Uzbekistan’s president he has been looking for outside sources for oil. Mirziyoyev has made oil deals with Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Russia earlier this year. Oil imports from Turkmenistan have started but the pipeline that runs from Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan is in need of repair and upgrades since it has not been working for several years and Uzbekistan plans to extend that pipeline to the Jizzakh area where a new refinery is being built,” said the expert.
Pannier noted that Iran would like to export oil to as many customers as possible and all the better if those customers are close, which is the case with the Central Asian states.
As for Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, they already produce oil and natural gas so there is little need to import from Iran, he added.
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