By Lucian Kim
June 7 (Bloomberg) -- Iran plans to import more oil and gas from Central Asia as it seeks to undermine a U.S.-backed project to build pipelines from the Caspian Sea to Europe.
Iran intends to build its own energy link from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to rival a U.S.-supported web of pipelines, Mahmood Khaghani, director of Caspian Sea affairs in the Iranian Oil Ministry, said in Baku, Azerbaijan, today.
The U.S., at loggerheads with Iran over its nuclear program, supports plans for a pipeline system that would link Turkmenistan to Turkey as a way to lessen Europe's dependence on Russian natural gas. Iran is responding by pushing the expansion of an existing link it has to Turkmenistan, which holds the second- largest gas reserves in the former Soviet Union.