Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 11 / Trend, A.Yusifzade /
Tehran's Ambassador to Islamabad Mashallah Shakeri said that the construction phase of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline would soon finish on the Iranian side, FNA reported.
"Work on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project is in progress. Iran has completed most of work on its side," Shakeri said according to the Pakistan Observer.
Iran is building 1,100 km long 56 inch diameter gas pipeline from its South Pars Gas field to the Iran-Pakistan border in Baluchistan. Iran is awaiting completion of the project on the Pakistani side so that Tehran undertakes supply of gas. Iran will supply 30 million cubic meter gas to Pakistan on daily basis.
"If Pakistan also lays 56 inch "diameter gas pipeline, Iran would be in a position to double its gas supply at some desired stage", the ambassador said.
He stated that Pakistan will not only overcome its energy deficit but also meet its growing gas demand from the gas pipeline project. India will also meet its demand to a great extent if and when New Delhi would join the project.
Shakeri described the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project as a mega project and a symbol of growing cooperation between the two countries.
"The project was conceived in 1990's among Iran, Pakistan and India and named as IPI Gas Pipeline Project. It was finalized in 2008 when legal formalities were completed between Pakistan and Iran.
"India has opted not to join the project at this stage but there is provision in the project for India to join at some later stage".
The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project is likely to be functional in around two years time. For Iran it will cost $2 billion while Pakistan will spend $1.5 billion to build its side of the project.
Asked about Iran's offer of electricity to Pakistan, Ambassador Shakeri said, Tehran is already providing 40 megawatt electricity to Pakistani area on Iran's border. Iran is committed to meeting electricity needs of Pakistan's newly built seaport of Gawadar and in the first instance will provide 100 megawatt. There is a project to provide 1000 megawatt of electricity to Pakistan. Iran is ready to supply even 2000 megawatt of electricity to Pakistan.
The Iranian ambassador said, Iran has capacity to produce 50,000 megawatt of electricity with large export margin. Tehran will provide electricity to Pakistan at very economical price.
The Iranian ambassador said there are other vast areas where Pakistan and Iran can promote 'brilliant' cooperation. There are bright chances of setting up joint ventures in the field of textiles, dairy farming and horticulture.
"Iran wants to meet all its textile needs from Pakistani exports," he said.
The Iranian ambassador said, Iran's experts are most willing to help Pakistan in promoting its agro processing industry. Private sector of the two countries can join hands in setting up fruit processing plants on a large scale. Pakistan can earn billions of dollars in foreign exchange through exports of processed food and fruit items as well as vegetables and flowers.
Ambassador Shakeri said that Iran, Pakistan and Turkey being pioneers of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) are destined to play a key role in promoting regional cooperation and development of the whole region. In this regard, he stressed the need for accelerating Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul Railway Project.
To a question he said there is need for greater cooperation between Pakistan and Iran in areas of health, and education. Iran offers to Pakistan facilities of organ transplant surgeries, specially relating to liver and heart.
The ambassador stated that the Persian literature has greatly influenced the Muslim culture in South Asia and there is a need to revive interest in this area. Iran is helping Pakistan in teaching of Persian language in educational institutions.
He said Pakistanis need to learn Persian to have better understanding of Allama Iqbal's thoughts, who mostly expressed in Persian.