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Iran Signs Deal To Help Rebuild Syria’s Electricity Infrastructure

Syrian Electricity Minister Muhammad Zuhair Kharboutli (right) and Iranian counterpart Reza Ardakanian signed an agreement to rebuild Syria's electrical grid.

Iran has signed a preliminary agreement with Syria to help rebuild the war-torn Arab country’s electrical infrastructure, Iranian state media report.

State news agency IRNA said on November 2 that the agreement between the countries’ electricity ministers signed in Tehran includes construction of power plants and transmission lines and the possibility of connecting the two nations' grids through Iraq.

The IRNA report did not estimate the value of the deal.

Iran, along with Russia, has provided crucial support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the Arab nation’s civil war, which began with a violent government crackdown on protesters in March 2011 and has since killed more than 400,000 people and devastated much of the country’s infrastructure.

According to IRNA, Syrian Electricity Minister Muhammad Zuhair Kharboutli said that 50 percent of the country's grid has suffered damages and that "Iran's role is important" in the effort to rebuild.

Iran’s own electricity generation suffers from lack of sufficient investment, leading to an aging and deteriorating system.

It is also not clear who will pay for the vast project, as both Syria's and Iran's economies face major problems. U.S. sanctions have dramatically reduced Iran's oil income and the country is strapped for cash.

Syria has turned to friendly states such as Iran, Russia, and China to play key roles in rebuilding the country.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL’s Radio Farda and Reuters