Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Armenian counterpart formally opened a natural gas pipeline on Monday that will deliver Iranian gas to the energy-hungry Caucasus nation.
Ahmadinejad and Armenian President Robert Kocharian inaugurated the 40-kilometer section in the town of Meghri, just over the border from Iran, opening a valve and setting a small gas torch ablaze in a symbolic ceremony. "This is an historic event. We have turned a new page in Armenian-Iranian relations," Kocharian said after the ceremony.
Under the first stage of the project, Iran is to deliver up to 400 million cubic meters of gas a year. When the pipeline is completed and extends to the capital, Yerevan, the volume could rise to 2.5 billion cubic meters a year.
The project was launched in 2004 after more than a decade of negotiations. Russia, which supplies most of Armenia's gas, had objected to the project. Armenian officials said last year they were discussing the prospect of Russia's natural-gas monopoly Gazprom purchasing the Armenian section of the pipeline from Iran.