Washington would do anything to prevent an Iran-Iraq oil pipeline from ever being built, even if the Europeans were in favor, policy researchers told RT.
“Iraq would feel the wrath of the US” should it pursue a cross-border pipeline project with its neighbor Iran, the head of the British-based consultancy firm Alfa Energy, John Hall, told RT.
According to a recent report, Tehran talked with Baghdad about building an oil pipeline through Iraq into Syria. The sides have also reportedly discussed reviving the existing pipeline connecting Kirkuk in Iraqi Kurdistan with the city of Baniyas on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. The pipeline was heavily damaged by US airstrikes in 2003 and has remained defunct since. The proposed project is said to be aimed at providing an alternative route for Iranian oil should the Strait of Hormuz be closed in case of a direct conflict with the US.
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Hall said Washington would be “upset” by this idea and will do all it can to dissuade Baghdad, as well as the EU, from participating.
Although European countries would be happy to buy oil from Iran, they won’t do so because of the threat of retribution from the United States. When you’ve got someone like Donald Trump as the president of the US, it’s very difficult knowing what may follow if Europeans try to engage with Iran across the sanctions.
Irina Fyodorova, a senior Middle East researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that as the situation in civil war-torn Syria “has somewhat stabilized,” Iran and Iraq see “serious opportunities” to explore their energy ties.
“It is not the US’ interest to have a pipeline that would be independent from them and their allies in the Persian Gulf,” she told RT.
'Talks are impossible unless #Washington respects the rights of the Iranian people' – #Rouhani https://t.co/MFblEDkGuF
— RT (@RT_com) 27 августа 2019 г.
It is also against US interests to have an Iran-Iraq cooperation that is outside of their control. So there will be actions aimed at hampering the implementation of this project.
One of the steps Washington and its allies could take is boosting their support for anti-government groups in Syria, she said. The researcher added that another problem for the pipeline would be the US-backed Kurdish forces, should it go from Kirkuk.
EU countries, on the other hand, would like to see new ways to bypass US sanctions on Iranian oil, Fyodorova noted, as “getting the oil through a pipeline would be cheaper than having it delivered by tankers.”
“The Europeans love balancing the books. Moreover, it would be a wonderful alternative to the oil the EU is buying from the US.”
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