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Turkmen President In Iran To Discuss Energy


Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (right) welcomes Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov to Tehran.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov is in Iran today for an official visit, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

Central Asian expert Steve Sabol told RFE/RL that Berdymukhammedov's trip to Iran could be a signal for the West and Russia that Turkmenistan is pursuing a foreign policy defined by its own interests. Sabol said such a visit is never good from a Western perspective because it wants to see Iran completely isolated.

He added that Turkmenistan may still attempt to develop alternative routes for its natural gas to increase demand and thereby the price.

Turkmenistan is currently being courted by the West and Russia for its large gas reserves.

Sabol said the notion that Iran could provide some financial and material aid to Turkmenistan could motivate the country to export its natural gas to Iran.