Iran strikes deal with Syria to repair power grid
LONDON/BEIRUT-ReutersIran signed deals with Damascus on Sept. 12 to repair Syria’s power grid, state media said; a potentially lucrative move for Tehran that points to a deepening economic role after years of fighting in the Syrian conflict.
Shunned by Western powers, the Syrian government is looking to friendly states such as Iran, Russia and China to play a major role in rebuilding the country, as the war heads towards its seventh year.
Since at least 2012, Iran has provided critical military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, helping it regain control of swathes of the country. Iran experts say Tehran is now looking to reap a financial dividend.
In January, Iran’s government and entities close to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) signed major telecommunications and mining deals with Damascus.
On Sept. 12, Iran and Syria signed a memorandum of understanding during a visit by Syria’s electricity minister to Tehran, including building a power plant the coastal province Latakia with a capacity of 540 megawatts, Syrian state news agency SANA said.
The agreement involves restoring the main control center for Syria’s electricity grid in the capital Damascus, it said.
The new electricity deals could be worth millions of euros, Iranian state media said on Sept. 12.
The agreement also includes rehabilitating a 90-megawatt power station in Deir al-Zor province, where the Syrian army and allied forces have made swift advances against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in recent days.
Two contracts were also signed, including for Iran to supply power to Aleppo city, which the Syrian military and its allies fully regained last year in a major blow to rebels, SANA said.