"the bombing of a pipeline carrying gas from Iran to Turkey early Friday was carried out by "mercenaries" in the pay of Israel and the United States, and forced a cut in supply, Iranian officials said.
"The export of gas to Turkey has been temporarily halted after an explosion struck the pipeline" in northwestern Iran, spokesman for the National Iranian Gas Co (NIGC) Majid Boujarzadeh told the oil ministry's news agency SHANA.
According to Iranian media, the explosion occurred near the Bazargan border crossing, close to the city of Maku in Iran's West Azarbaijan province,
"The bombing which left no casualties ... occurred at the hands of Zionist and American mercenaries," Maku Governor Hamid Ahmadian told the ISNA news agency.
|An Iranian woman sits along the shores of the Caspian Sea in Freydon Kenar, Mazandaran Province, on July 28, 2011|
Bourjarzadeh said repair work on the pipeline was under way and expressed hope for a speedy resumption of the gas flow.
It is not the first time gas supplies to Turkey have been disrupted. In the summer of 2010, it was damaged twice in blasts blamed on separatist Kurdish rebels.
Iran, which has the second-largest proven gas reserves in the world after Russia, exports about 30 million cubic metres of gas to Turkey annually, according to deputy oil minister and chairman of the NIGC, Javad Ouji.