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Monday, 30 July, 2001, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
Turkey and Iran postpone gas flow

Turkey says it has been unable to start the scheduled import of Iranian natural gas due to a technical problem on the Iranian side.

The flow of gas via a pipeline from Tabriz in northwestern Iran to Ankara was due to begin today.

The Turkish energy minister, Zeki Cakan, said that a metering station in Iran was not ready for operation.

Iran's deputy oil minister, Hamdollah Mohammad-Nejad, later denied there were problems on the Iranian side.

He said Turkey had asked to test the metering system just two days ago and Iran had agreed to the request.

Under a 1996 deal, Iran is to supply three billion cubic metres of gas a year to Turkey -- increasing it to ten billion cubic metres by 2007. The United States has voiced objections to the deal which it regards as a rival to a multi-million dollar pipeline project to carry gas from Turmenistan to western markets via Turkey and avoiding Iran.

Turkey says it needs both projects to meet its energy needs.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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