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Nazarbayev Considers Oil Pipeline to Persian Gulf Via Iran

ALMATY (FT)-- Kazakhstan would like to construct a pipeline through Iran to the Persian Gulf as the main outlet for its natural resources, the country's president said.

Nursultan Nazarbayev said in an interview with the Financial Times he thought a southern route for his oil reserves was "the most attractive" both for his country and for U.S. companies that operated there. He said the current political relationship between the U.S. and Iran made such a project impossible, but he was hopeful ties would improve. "It would be better than Baku-Ceyhan, better than China, better than Russia," he said, referring to the country's existing infrastructure links. "It would be the best exit for us."

His comments came shortly after Kazakhstan agreed details of pipeline links eastwards into China to meet growing energy demands by the Chinese, and he stressed the historical challenges of a landlocked country that had been closely tied to the Soviet Union. Nazarbayev said one of Kazakhstan's principal demands in the creation of a planned economic zone with Russia, Ukraine and Belarus was also related to natural resources: it sought a reduction in the tariffs charged by Russia for its oil pipelines and railway freight.

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