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Turkmenistan is planning to increase the amount of natural gas it exports to Iran to 14 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

Iran currently imports some 8 bcm. State media have reported that the price of the gas -- which has not been disclosed -- to be exported to Iran starting in December will be based on international rates.

A new pipeline from the eastern Turkmen town of Devletabat to Iran will have a capacity of 12.5 bcm of gas per year and should be completed later this year.

The countries have also expressed a commitment to increase the quantity of Turkmen gas exported to Iran to 20 bcm in the future.

China will also begin importing 30 bcm by the end of the year, while the planned Turkmen contribution of 10 bcm to the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline project is only in the planning stages.

Meanwhile, Mubariz Ahmedoglu, director of the Center for Political Innovations and Technology, told vesti.az that Tehran -- not Moscow -- is behind a recent Turkmen government statement against Azerbaijan on the unresolved status of the division of mineral rights in the Caspian Sea.

Ahmedoglu adds that Iran is ready to spend more in an attempt to block European access to Turkmen gas.

Turkmenistan said recently that it plans to take its dispute with Azerbaijan to the International Court of Arbitration in Paris and to the United Nations General Assembly when it reconvenes in September.
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