Energy-rich Azerbaijan appears to be quietly backing the idea of tightened international sanctions against its southern neighbor, Iran. But it seems that Baku won’t profit from a potential European Union oil embargo against Tehran.
The EU has stated that it will impose an oil embargo on Iran starting July 1, unless Iranian officials open up the country’s nuclear program to more expansive international oversight. Azerbaijan, as a major oil and natural gas producer in the Caspian Basin, would seem poised to capitalize on any move to cut off Iranian exports. Yet industry insiders in Baku point out that Azerbaijan’s energy production is peaking, and a majority of its supplies are already allocated to current customers.
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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance reporter in Baku and a board member of the Open Society Assistance Foundation-Azerbaijan.