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Tajikistan, Iran launch hydropower plant construction

DUSHANBE, February 20 (RIA Novosti) - Iran officially started the construction of a hydropower plant in the Central Asian republic of Tajikistan Monday.

Speaking at a launch ceremony attended by the speaker of the Iranian parliament, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmonov said the construction of the Sangtuda-2 hydropower plant continued the cooperation and historical ties between Iran and Tajikistan that dated back centuries.

"This is not Iran's last contribution to the Tajik energy sector," Rakhmonov said. "Tajikistan and Iran have resumed cooperation after a hiatus lasting many years. Iran was among the first countries to recognize the independence of Tajikistan."

The Tajik president said the hydropower plant would supply electricity both to Tajikistan and neighboring countries. The Sangtuda-2 plant, which is expected to be built in about three and a half years, will generate a billion kilowatt/hour a year, the Tajik president said.

The project also stipulates the construction of a high-voltage electricity transmission line to export energy from Tajikistan's Sangtuda to Iran via Afghanistan.

Under the agreement reached with Tajikistan, Iran will keep the profits from Sangtuda-2 for twelve and a half years, and then the plant will become Tajikistan's property.

(The Moscow Times 20.ii.06)

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