The flow of natural gas from Iran to Turkey has been halted for the second time in a month by an explosion at the pipeline, this time in Turkish territory.
Mehr News Agency reports that Deputy Oil Minister Javad Owji, who is also the head of the Iranian National Gas Company, announced: "This pipeline, 60 kilometres from the Turkish border and near the Bazargan gas gauge installations, exploded at 1:10 AM today, August 12."
Iranian authorities have offered assistance to their Turkish counterparts in repairing the damaged pipeline.
Turkey’s Energy Ministry has announced that repairs have begun and estimated that gas flow would resume in a week. The ministry added that Turkey will buy extra gas from Azerbaijan and Russia to cover any shortfall in the interim.
A similar blast stopped gas flow to Turkey on July 30, but the damages were repaired and gas flow resumed within a day.
Three days after that explosion, Iranian authorities announced they had identified seven members of the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK) involved in the bombing. Four were arrested, said authorities, and three others were killed during the arrest operation.
PJAK did take responsibility for the July pipeline explosion but so far has made no statement regarding today’s blast.
While it is not immediately clear what caused the explosion, the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), a separatist militant group in Turkey with links to Iran’s PJAK, has claimed responsibility for two separate attacks on the pipeline on August 3.