In Ankara on July 13, 2009 to seal the Nabucco Agreement.

Ankara has once again introduced the idea of having Iran participate in the Nabucco oil pipeline project, in defiance of US wishes.

"Iran extracts its gas and supplies it to the market so there seems to be no a reason for Iran not to participate," the Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz said, according to a Monday report posted on the Aksam daily.

Yildiz explained that although the United States does not welcome the idea of Iran entering the Nabucco project, it was not how he saw the matter.

"Just as the needs of consumer countries are important, it is also the supplier countries’ right to get their resources to the consumer. So there seems to be no reason not to exclude Iran’s gas supply from the market," he said.

After years of stalling, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria finally sealed the Nabucco contract on July 13, as the first step toward building the 3,300-kilometer oil pipeline that is to break Russia’s monopoly on Europe’s gas supply by transferring Caspian gas to the continent.

As they ink the agreement in the absence of a representative from Iran, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said Iran should be brought into the project “when conditions allow.”

After the European partners signed the deal a senior US official ruled out the possibility of Iran joining Nabucco.

"I don’t think there would ever be an agreement at this point among the Nabucco consortium for Iranian participation at this time," the US State Department’s Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy, Richard Morningstar told the Senate Foreign Relations committee on July 16.

However, several days later, an Iranian energy official said that Nabucco gas pipeline member-states would ask Iran to join the project due to the shortage of suppliers.

"The EU cannot turn a blind eye on Iran’s role in regional gas cooperation", said Managing Director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Azizollah Ramezani.

The US has, however, suggested using Iraqi gas resources as an alternative to Iranian supplies.


Related article:
Turkey, Washington’s geopolitical pivot, by F. William Engdahl, Volatire Network; 17 April 2009.

Source: Press TV