Iran reaps "war dividend" as it strikes power grid repair deals with Syria

Iran reaps
A shell explodes in the Syrian city of Kobane.
By bne IntelliNews September 13, 2017

Iran has agreed deals with Damascus to repair war-torn Syria’s power grid, Iranian state media reported on September 12.

The Syrian government is turning to Iran, and other friendly nations such as Russia and China, to help rebuild and the work on the grid is potentially worth hundreds of millions of euros.

Iran has provided substantial military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government in the seven-year-old conflict. In January, Tehran and businesses close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had signed major telecommunications agreements - including for the building of a new cellphone system - and concessions with the Syrians on farming land, oil and gas, as well as phosphate mining.

Syrian Electricity Minister Mohammad Zuhair Kharboutli visited Tehran on September 12. During the visit, Iran and Syria signed a memorandum of understanding on deals including constructing a 540-megawatt power plant in the coastal province Latakia, Syrian state news agency SANA reported. The agreement also involves restoring the main electricity grid control centre in Damascus and rehabilitating a 90-megawatt power station in Deir al-Zor province.

“The Syrian government... is working relentlessly to restore the power system,” SANA quoted the electricity minister as saying.

Iran has also agreed to supply power to Aleppo, the city the Syrian military and allies fully recaptured last year with Russian air support and Iranian-backed ground support in a big blow to the rebels, which was seen as a turning point in the conflict.

“We will stand by the Syrian people to rebuild this country... We will bring light to houses of the Syrian people,” Sattar Mahmoudi, Iran’s caretaker energy minister, stated on his ministry’s website.

The Iranians are also intent on increasing their cooperation in constructing water and sewerage facilities in Syria, Mahmoudi said.