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The Iranian routes. The US government opposes a Baku-Iran-Ceyhan route because of Iran's alleged support of international terrorism. US oil companies are not allowed to ship their oil through Iran, although it is the shortest, cheapest and easiest route to an open port. Iran's preferred route is a pipeline south from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf (Route 7). Iran has an extended pipeline system in place, and Turkmenistan opened a gas pipeline into Iran in December 1997.14 This comparatively inexpensive option would bring the oil and gas to the troubled Persian Gulf with its easily closed Strait of Hormuz. The United States opposes this pipeline and tries to enforce the sanctions, but other nations' oil firms ignore the sanctions and cut oil deals with Iran.