'Pakistan will stick to IPI gas project'
Pakistan has brushed aside US concerns over a multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline project with Iran, saying it will never abandon the plan, Press TV reported.
"This project is very important for us, for our economic growth as Pakistan is facing a huge energy deficit... so we attach an immense importance to this project and I don't think that Pakistan will abandon this project." Pakistan Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abdul Basit told a PressTV correspondent on Thursday.
The project has come under intense pressure from Washington as Richard Holbrooke, the US Special Representative for Pakistan, has threatened companies in Islamabad with US sanctions if they cooperate with Tehran in the plan.
The United Nations Security Council slapped a fourth round of sanctions on Tehran in June, which mainly targeted Iran's energy sector including the natural gas sector.
However, Basit played down the sanctions resolution's applicability to the project, adding that "this project does not fall under the scope of the resolution."
The Islamic Republic plans to export an annual volume of up to 21 million cubic meters of natural gas to Pakistan through the multi-billion-dollar pipeline, which is under construction in the two countries.
The gas export from Iran to Pakistan is projected to commence in 2013.
In March, Tehran and Islamabad signed a final agreement to launch implementation of the project for exporting Iran's natural gas to the energy-hungry South-Asian nation.
The 2,700-kilometer long pipeline was to supply gas for Pakistan and India which suffer from lack of energy resources. However, India later evaded talks, reportedly under US pressure.
Last year, Iran and Pakistan declared that they would finalize the agreement bilaterally if India continued to be avoid the meetings.