Iran starts building gas pipeline to Syria

TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian semi-official news agency says the country has started building a $10 billion natural gas pipeline to Syria as part of efforts to boost its energy sector that has been battered by international sanctions.

Monday’s report by the Fars news agency says the 1,500 kilometer (750 mile) pipeline will pass through Iraq before reaching Syria. It says Iran begun construction of the first phase of the project involving a 225 kilometer (140 mile) stretch at an estimated cost of $3 billion.

Fars says the entire project is to be completed in the second half of 2013. The deal was signed between Iran, Iraq and Syria last July. .

Iran has the world’s second largest natural gas reserves, estimated at 28 trillion cubic meters.