With the world's attention focused on energy problems, important developments have emerged in the Tehran meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Caspian Sea-area leaders. It seems that another regional entente based in energy is emerging, one composed of countries that control almost half of the world's natural gas assets and 20 percent of global oil reserves. The most important aspect of this meeting was the joint proposal by Iran and Russia to veto the construction of any pipeline traversing the Caspian states. This initiative will be decided in next year's conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, and if accepted by all interested parties will signify an important shift in energy issues that gives Russia a stronger hand in dictating the rules of the game in relation to Western oil multinational corporations. Of course, it will elevate the role of Iran as well.
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