TEHRAN: Iran’s natural gas exports have shot up over the past month due to increased trade with Turkey, a senior energy official said on Sunday.
"The export of Iranian natural gas has grown by 98 percent in the 40 days of the current (Iranian) year, compared to the corresponding period last year," Mostafa Kashkouli, deputy director of the National Iranian Gas Company said in comments to semi-official news agency ILNA.
The Iranian new year started in late March.
"The bulk of the gas export pertains to Turkey, which has almost doubled," Kashkouli said.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said last week Iran may export gas to Switzerland via Turkey in exchange for a transit fee to Ankara if it does so.
The United States and its European allies are pushing for a fourth round of UN sanctions to pressure Iran to curb a nuclear program the West fears is aimed at building a bomb. Iran says it needs nuclear technology to generate power.
Turkey’s government has boosted ties with Tehran. Turkey and Brazil are trying to revive a stalled atomic fuel deal with Iran in an attempt to help the Islamic Republic avoid new sanctions.
Iran has the world’s second-largest natural gas reserves after Russia, but US and UN sanctions have hindered access to foreign investment and slowed its development as a major exporter. It is Turkey’s second-biggest supplier after Russia.