Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Iran-Armenia Connection

Because of the Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijan kept Armenia out of the BTC pipeline route, opting to go through Georgia instead. Armenia's consequent dependence on Russia is one reason for the pro-Russian tilt in its foreign policy. The same set of circumstances is also a factor in its deepening of ties with Iran:
Armenia appears to have completed construction of a pipeline from neighboring Iran that will supply it with natural gas and significantly ease its heavy dependence on Russia for energy resources. The development will also allow the small landlocked country to avoid disastrous consequences if Moscow decides to cut off gas deliveries to Georgia, a possibility that has become real since the outbreak of the Russian-Georgian war.

"The first, 24.6 mile (41-kilometer) Armenian section of the pipeline was inaugurated by the presidents of Armenia and Iran in March 2007, more than a decade after the two governments agreed to launch the multimillion-dollar project. The national gas distribution company ARG has since been busy building its second and final section. Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian announced on September 3 that work on the almost 120-mile (200-kilometer) stretch, passing through the country’s most mountainous region, was essentially complete; and that the pipeline would go on stream 'in late October or early November' (Armenian Public Television, September 3)."

(Crossposted to American Footprints)

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