Aug. 26 – A $40 billion agreement between the National Iranian Oil Company, and Gazprom in Russia has raised concerns that the countries are seeking to establish a natural gas cartel which would have a global impact on access to the resource.

According to a report by news outlet Oil Price, the alliance aims to control gas dispensed by overland pipes and ships, the two current key forms of supply.

Russia and Iran have the world’s first and second largest gas reserves respectively,  prompting fears that the states could control the global flow of the resource. Gas is seen as an increasingly valuable commodity as the world moves away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy.

Another wave of demonstrations in Iran swept the country this week, as hundreds of protestors gathered in Western Iran over a lack of drinking water. Protestors also expressed frustration at failures by Iranian officials to solve the problem, according to state media.

Iran’s IRNA news agency said an estimated 200 people stood outside the governor’s office in Hamadan to raise concerns about disruptions to the urban water network.

Severe dry spells, government mismanagement of the water systems and the building of damns in inappropriate areas are believed to be responsible for the country’s ongoing water crisis.

And statistics concerning the state of Iran’s economy published by the Statistical Center of Iran (SCI) held that the country’s inflation remained above 50 percent for the month ending Aug. 22.

The center’s accompanying report for the figures also noted that biscuits, cakes, medicine and rent had seen the highest jump, while chicken and cooking oil had dropped somewhat.

The rise in prices follow the Iranian government’s decision to scrap a food import subsidy amid an economic crisis which has left 50 percent of Iranians living below the poverty line.

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