ANKARA (Reuters)–The United States on Monday spoke out against a preliminary agreement between Turkey and its eastern neighbor Iran to carry natural gas from Iran and Turkmen’stan to Europe, the Anatolia news agency reported.
"It does not seem wise to put increasing trust in Iran as a source and transit country of natural gas" when it is under sanctions over its controversial nuclear program, the agency quoted Kathryn Schalow, the spokeswoman for the US embassy here as saying.
The memorandum of understanding was signed away from public eye last week in Ankara after talks between Turkey’s Energy Minister Hilmi Guler and Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh.
Officials from the two countries need to complete technical work for the agreement to be finalized.
The deal is seen as boosting the prospects of a planned 2,000-mile pipeline project, known as Nabucco, to carry gas from the Middle East and Central Asia to the European Union via Turkey and the Balkans, bypassing Russia.
Turkey already buys gas via a conduit from the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz to Ankara, which was inaugurated in December 2001 even though the deal was frowned upon in the United States, Turkey’s long-standing NATO ally and Iran’s arch-foe.