ugg piel Iranians Reported in Turkey for Talks About a New Pipeline
The Iranian strategy, diplomats said, mirrors that of Iraq, which has two pipelines running from its oil fields to Iskenderun on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Those pipelines, with a capacity of 1.5 million barrels a day from the northern Iraqi oil fields around Kirkuk, greatly reduce Baghdad’s vulnerability to attack on the oil exports that fund its war coffers.
Turkish officials said the discussions this month would center on the feasibility of a 1,300 mile pipeline from Ahwaz, just north of the Gulf, to Turkey’s main oil terminal at Dortyol in Iskenderun Bay in the southeast of the country.
The Turkish officials dismissed reports that Iran was seeking a pipeline to Trebizond, on Turkey’s Black Sea Coast, which would be shorter, less costly and strategically situated away from Baghdad’s oil outlets at Iskenderun.
Construction of an Iran Turkey pipeline, diplomats said, could represent a long term shift in the balance of the seven year gulf war between Iran and Iraq and further lessen the importance of the gulf as an oil outlet.
Increasingly, Baghdad has exploited its air supremacy over Iran to send its warplanes against Iranian shipping, hoping thereby to choke Teheran’s sole oil export route.
Iran has responded to Baghdad’s strikes by attacking neutral shipping serving Iraq and its Gulf Arab allies, drawing the United States, the Soviet Union and other foreign powers into the gulf to protect shipping.
Despite the presence of more than 80 foreign naval vessels in the gulf, the so called tanker war has escalated.
Lloyd’s shipping agents in London said recently that 178 vessels were attacked and 108 seamen killed in 1987, compared with 80 ships hit and 52 sailors slain the year before. The number of dead in 1987 included the 37 American seamen killed when an Iraqi missile struck the frigate Stark last May.
”The Iranians are worred about their European market because of the situation in the gulf,” one official in Ankara said.
The notion of an Iran Turkey pipeline,
Turkish officials said, has been put forward on various occasions over several decades, including during the days of the Shah.
Last October, a Turkish delegation in Teheran revived the idea and a negotiating team from Turkey’s state owned pipeline company, Botas, visited Iran in November. Iran is also reported to have considered negotiating a pipeline project with the Soviet Union, which also has Black Sea ports.
Turkey, a NATO ally, is neutral in the Iran Iraq war, permitting it to trade with both nations and import oil from both.
Asked about reports that Iran wanted a shorter pipeline running to Trebizond, a pipeline company official, who declined to be identified by name, said: ”We are talking only about one pipeline to Dortyol.”
In previous discussions, Turkey and Iran have discussed a pipeline capacity of one million barrels a day.
Teheran’s current oil exports are estimated at 1.3 million barrels a day, reduced from its usual 1.8 million due to excess supplies on the world market and reductions in Japanese imports. CARLUCCI STARTS GULF TOUR
KUWAIT, Jan. 4 (AP) Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci began his first tour of the Persian Gulf region today, and newspapers said Arab leaders would ask him for more American help in ending the Iran Iraq war.
Kuwait’s Defense Minister, Sheik Salem al Sabah, greeted Mr. Carlucci at the country’s airport tonight. Mr. Carlucci was to meet Tuesday with the ruler, Sheik Jaber al Ahmed al Sabah, and the Crown Prince and Prime Minister,
Saad al Abdullah al Sabah.