Iran is becoming very ‘neighborly’. Recently we saw how Iran has brokered cease fires in Iraq and now Iran is connecting its electrical grid with Turkey’s

In a move certain to raise hackles in Washington, Iran and Turkey have agreed to connect their electrical power grids. According to an amendment to the Electricity Market Law submitted to parliament, Turkey’s isolated eastern and southern regions will be able to import electricity on an ad hoc basis until December 31, 2009, in the event of blackouts or network difficulties (Fars News Agency, April 4).

According to the backers of the amendment, eastern, southeastern and southern Turkey do not have enough technical capacity to purchase electric power other than with an “electric isolation supply” system, as they have failed to make sufficient investments for upgrading the infrastructure. Accordingly, the new legislation allows the “electric isolation supply” solution to be used temporarily to import electricity from Turkey’s neighbors to specific regions isolated from Turkey’s electricity grid, should these regions encounter power shortages or network problems (Today’s Zaman, April 4).

Perhaps the people of the Middle East are better suited to working out their own problems than we are. Let’s see if anyone in Washington agrees or appreciates the efforts.

Still, an interim solution of purchasing electricity is hardly going to cause major diplomatic strain between the United States and Turkey. Furthermore, by improving the standard of living, the project may actually reduce tension in Turkey’s southeast, where most of the country’s Kurdish population is located and where the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been most active. If a charter member of the “Axis of Evil” helped decrease the threat of terrorism in a NATO member’s territory, that would be a development that even Washington skeptics could applaud.