Iran committed to gas agreement with Pakistan, despite latter's suspension statement
Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 25
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Iran is committed to its gas agreement with Pakistan, Iranian oil minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said while commenting on his Pakistani counterpart's statement about suspending a gas pipeline project with Iran, the country`s Mehr News agency reported on Feb. 25.
The Pakistani Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi informed the National Assembly on Feb. 24 that the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project was now off the table.
"In the absence of international sanctions, the project can be completed within three years, but the government cannot take it any further at the moment because international sanctions against Iran are a serious issue," he added.
Zanganeh said that Pakistan has not officially informed Iran over the issue.
Iran will make a decision, as soon as it is officially informed by Pakistan, he added.
Zanganeh previously said that he is not optimistic about Tehran's gas exports to Islamabad.
The peace pipeline project was originally initiated between Iran and Pakistan. Later India expressed some interest in joining the project.
The Iranian-Pakistani gas pipeline is projected to cost $1.2-1.5 billion and would enable the export of 21.5 million cubic meters of Iranian natural gas to Pakistan on a daily basis.
Iran has already built 900 kilometres of the pipeline on its own soil and is waiting for the 700-kilometre Pakistani side to be constructed.
However, Pakistan has made little progress on laying its leg of the long planned pipeline; largely due to lack of funds for the costly project and US pressure to drop it.
Pakistan will have to pay a penalty if it fails to lay the pipeline within its territory by December this year.
Iran and Pakistan clinched the deal in 1995. Later, Iran made a proposal to extend the pipeline from Pakistan into India. In February 1999, an accord between Iran and India was signed. Nevertheless, India withdrew from the project in 2009 under US pressure.
Edited by S.M.