It has been a chastening few months for gas-rich Turkmenistan. Two long-standing energy buyers have indicated they will stop purchasing the country’s natural gas, potentially leaving Ashgabat dependent on Chinese demand.
It appears Turkmenistan is about to lose its second-best customer for natural gas, Iran.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on August 11 that his country no longer needed gas from Turkmenistan. Zanganeh went so far as to say, "Iran is importing Turkmen gas just because it is important to promote political and economic relations with Turkmenistan."
Georgia is strengthening its business contacts with Iranian entities. That, in turn, is causing US officials to look askance, fearful that Tehran is trying to use Tbilisi to evade international economic sanctions.