DUBAI, March 31 (Reuters) – Iran said on Tuesday its natural gas exports to Turkey have stopped after an attack on a pipeline inside the neighbouring country, an Iranian official told state TV.
“This morning, terrorists attacked a natural gas pipeline inside Turkey near Iran‘s Bazargan border with Turkey …Flow of gas has been halted,” said Mehdi Jamshidi-Dana, director of National Iranian Gas Co.
“The pipeline has exploded several times in the past. It is also likely that the PKK group has carried out the blast,” he told Iran‘s state news agency IRNA, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party.
Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT Haber said the cause of the explosion was unknown.
“The gas flow on the natural gas pipeline was cut and the fire that had started was extinguished by fire squads. Security forces are investigating the cause for the incident that caused damage on the pipeline,” TYRT Haber reported.
The pipeline, which carries around 10 billion cubic meters of Iranian gas to Turkey annually, frequently came under attack by Kurdish militants during the 1990s and up until 2013, when a ceasefire was established.
Jamshidi said that because of the new coronavirus outbreak, “the Turkish border guards have left, but we have informed them of the explosion and are waiting for their response”, IRNA reported.
“It takes usually three to four days to repair and resume gas exports.”
(Additional reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen in Istanbul Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Alex Richardson, William Maclean)