Saturday, May 26, 2012

Good Neighbor, Bad Neighbor

‘Iran’s electricity exports to four neighboring countries up by 40%’

"An Iranian Energy Ministry official says Iran’s electricity exports to four neighboring countries have increased by 40 percent since the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year (started March 20, 2012).

Abdolhamid Farzam, the Energy Ministry official in charge of foreign exchanges, said Sunday that Iran’s power exports to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Turkey have seen a major boost in the past two months.

The official stated that new power transfer lines and installations have become operational for exporting electricity to Iraq, raising Iran’s electricity exports to its western neighbor to 1,200 megawatts (MW).

Farzam added that electricity exports to Pakistan have been more than doubled in the same period, saying Iran’s capacity to export electricity to Pakistan has increased from 30 MW in winter to 70 MW right now.

He said Iran is exporting an average of 30 MW of electricity to Afghanistan, while power exports to Turkey have increased from 110 MW to more than 170 MW.

The official stated that Iran will increase its power export capacity to Turkey to 500 MW in the next few days.

On May 10, Iran’s Energy Ministry published a report saying that the country’s electricity exports to its neighboring countries have increased by more than 38 percent since the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year compared to the previous year.

The report added that Iran has exported a total of 1,347 gigawatts per hour (GW/h) of electricity to the neighboring countries during the aforementioned period, up by 38.57 percent compared to the previous Iranian calendar year (ended March 19, 2012).

Iran, which seeks to become a major regional exporter of electricity, has attracted more than USD 1.1 billion in investment to build three new power plants."

Gaza fleet leashed by Israel, starved for fuel

"Israeli gunboats and an Egyptian clampdown on fuel smuggling into the Gaza Strip are strangling the Palestinian enclave's little fishing fleet, slowly turning a generation of fishermen into fishmongers.

Since 2009, they have been unable to sail out beyond three miles because of Israel's strictly enforced blockade. This year they can hardly afford to go out at all because diesel has nearly tripled in price.

There are about 3,700 full-time fishermen in the Gaza Strip ready to serve a market of 1.7 million Palestinians. They used to export to Israel. Now Gaza imports about 80 percent of its needs from the Egyptians and the Israelis.

"Once we made enough to let us give away fish to the poor and needy people. These days we are begging for aid," said Mahmoud Al-Assi, 66, a fisherman most of his life and currently the chairman of Gaza's non-profit Fishermens' Society, which supports boat owners with tools, ice and fuel.

"Just like the fish, we will die if we're out of the water for too long," said Al-Assi."


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