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Iran Starts Gas Supplies To Iraq

A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Gulf

Iran has begun exporting natural gas to neighboring Iraq after several years of delays, Iranian state media report.

The semiofficial Fars news agency on June 22 said the exports began late the previous day through a pipeline to Baghdad.

The countries signed an agreement in 2013 for Iran to supply Iraqi power stations, but the project was delayed over what officials said was the poor security situation in Iraq.

But Iraqi government forces have recaptured control of much of the pipeline area in recent months, allowing the project to proceed.

About 7 billion cubic meters of gas will flow per day, eventually rising to 35 billion cubic meters a day, Amir Hossein Zamaninia, the Iranian deputy oil minister for trade and international affairs, was quoted as saying by state-run IRNA news agency.

IRNA reported that the countries also have a second agreement in 2015 to build a gas pipeline to the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

Years of sanctions imposed against Tehran have helped to slow development of Iranian gas projects, many experts have said.

Iran also exports a small amount of gas to Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

Iran is developing production facilities in the South Pars offshore oil and gas field, which it shares with Qatar

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, Fars, Argus, and IRNA