Iran and Syria make energy deals amid crisis

Reuters , Saturday 28 Jul 2012

Iran and Syria governments signed deals on energy and electricity exports, signalling continued cooperation between the two countries even as the Syrian government escalates military action against the uprising

Iranian and Syrian officials entered into agreements this week on energy and water supply, Iranian news agencies reported, signalling continued cooperation between the two countries as the Syrian government battles an uprising within its borders.

A Syrian economic delegation has been touring Iran this week, and signed deals with Iranian officials on electricity exports from Iran to Syria, Fars news agency said on Friday.

Iran is a rare ally for Syria, which faces international condemnation over the government's crackdown on a sixteen-month rebellion that has in recent weeks reached its largest cities.

International sanctions levied against Iran for its disputed nuclear programme have put enormous pressure on its economy, raising the spectre of factory closures and higher unemployment.

Iran's energy minister, Majid Namjou, said this week Tehran was prepared to help Syria reconstruct damaged facilities such as power plants.

Syrian activists accuse government forces of shelling residential areas such as Homs, causing huge damage.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will not leave Syria alone in such a difficult situation," Namjou was quoted as saying on Thursday by Iran's Press TV. Namjou met with Syrian electricity minister Imad Khamis and water resource minister Bassam Hanna, Press TV reported.

Iran will export 50 megawatts of electricity to Syria via Iraq, according to one of the agreements signed, and the two countries will also cooperate in waste and water management, Press TV reported.

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