Iran wants to set up regional gas hub

The Islamic Republic has been seeking to enhance its position on the global energy market

Tehran has proposed creating a regional gas hub within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to ensure energy security, Fars news agency reported this week, citing the Islamic Republic’s first vice president.

Speaking at a meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the SCO member states in the Kyrgyz capital city of Bishkek, Mohammad Mokhber reportedly said the move would help the bloc’s nine members to trade and exchange energy, including fossil fuels, electricity and renewables.

He also spoke about Tehran’s proposal to create a fund for interested investor countries to jointly finance petrochemical projects, and emphasized the country’s readiness to provide engineering services and produce equipment for the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors.

Iran has been seeking to create a gas hub in cooperation with its Eurasian trade partners to strengthen regional cooperation and enhance its position on the global energy market. Tehran is one of the largest oil and gas producers in the world, selling most of its energy to Asian markets despite US sanctions.

In July, Iran became the ninth full member of the SCO, upgrading its previous status as an observer of the Eurasian security and economic development bloc.

READ MORE: Tehran seeks energy partnership with Moscow

The SCO, formed in the 1990s as the Shanghai Five, initially comprised China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Uzbekistan joined in 2001, leading to the name change, and the most recent enlargement in 2017 saw India and Pakistan join. Earlier this year, Belarus signed a memorandum on accession, a necessary step for an observer country to become an SCO member. Aside from Belarus, Afghanistan and Mongolia also currently have observer status, while over a dozen nations are viewed by the SCO as dialogue partners.

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