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Iran offers support for cross-Iraq oil pipeline

Iran has offered to help Iraq build a major oil pipeline to take Iranian fuel to Syria and Lebanon while avoiding both US sanctions and the Strait of Hormuz.

Sources familiar with the proposals told the al-Sumaria television station on Saturday that discussions were underway to potentially resume construction of the cross-Iraq pipeline.

As well as getting around the US-imposed embargo, the pipeline would also help relieve an acute electricity shortage in Lebanon.

Extensive discussions on the pipeline have already taken place, but were shelved in 2014 when Isis took control of vast swathes of Syria and Iraq.

Similar plans had been discussed as far back as the 1950s when a 500-mile pipeline linking oil-rich Kirkuk in Iraq to Baniyas in Syria was commissioned. 

Operations stopped during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and further damage by air strikes in the 2003 invasion of Iraq put paid to the project.

An unnamed member of the Iraqi parliament’s oil and gas committee confirmed the talks. But Baghdad has yet to formally respond to the proposals.

It is anticipated that such a project would take around two years to complete.

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