Azerbaijan as gas mediator between Iran and Europe
Gradual change of the West’s attitude towards Iran opens new perspectives of cooperation, firstly, in economical area, for this country. For development of this cooperation, Tehran needs reliable partners which have close relations with Europe, which is more liberal towards Islamic Republic, and can be mediators in resuming and expanding of trade and economic ties.
Azerbaijan, which has proven itself as a reliable partner, can be one of such mediators. It is also confirmed by the statement of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made during his visit to Baku. He said, that Iran can unite with Europe with Azerbaijan’s help.
Today Iran with nearly 34 trillion cubic meters holds the first place of natural gas reserves in the world. And, as in every energy resources-rich country, hydrocarbons are one of the main income resources and they form economy.
Before sanctions were imposed Iran had been considered as one of the main natural gas providers to Europe, and after their cancellation this issue has become relevant again.
No one better than Azerbaijan can help Iran in this issue. Baku, being an initiator of Southern Gas Corridor, through which Azerbaijani gas will go to Europe, personally taking part in creation of necessary infrastructure, is already realizing a project of passing gas from new reserves to Europe. Iran can be one of these resources with its huge gas supplies.
Tehran would only need to build a pipeline to connect with the existing gas infrastructure.
In spite of early statements of the EU about rejection of Iranian gas, consumption growth, desire to reduce dependency from Russia and searches of new supplies can open European market for Iran – something that Iran just might be interested by itself.
While Iran has considered many other projects on providing Asian countries with gas, they virtually were never realized.
Today it is necessary for Iran to find a common ground with Europe, also through cooperative partners like Azerbaijan.