Wednesday, June 23, 2010

[wvns] Pakistan ignores US on Iran gas deal

Pakistan ignores US on Iran gas deal
Monday, June 21, 2010

Pakistan's Foreign Minister says his country needs energy, emphasizing that Islamabad will continue a gas pipeline deal with Iran despite sanctions on Tehran.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters on Sunday that the present government has struck the gas pipeline deal with Iran in view of Pakistan's energy requirements.

"This agreement is in the interest of Pakistan and it will only see its interests and the international laws…… the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline agreement will not come under the ambit of the sanctions on Tehran," he said, a Press TV correspondent reported.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister disclosed that all the different phases of the gas pipeline agreement have been finalized and Islamabad wants it to proceed as planned.

On Sunday, Tehran and Islamabad finished signing a multi-billion-dollar contract, which supplies Pakistan with Iranian natural gas from 2014.

That same day, the US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, warned Islamabad that a recently signed gas pipeline deal with Iran could run afoul of new sanctions being finalized in the US Congress.

"We cautioned the Pakistanis to try to see what the (Congressional) legislation is, before deciding how to proceed because it would be a disaster if … we had a situation develop where an agreement was reached which then triggered something under the law," he said.

Under the $7.6 billion deal, the Islamic Republic has agreed to provide 50 million cubic feet of natural gas to Pakistan on a daily basis from mid-2014.

The pipeline will account for 20 percent of the recipient's demands once Iran's giant South Pars gas field is connected with Pakistan's Baluchistan province.

Iran has already constructed more than 900 kilometers of the pipeline, stating that as a country with huge gas reserves, it is capable of guaranteeing global energy security.

The project, which aims to transport gas from Iran to Pakistan through a 2,600-kilometer pipeline, was first advanced in 1994 but has been stalled by a series of disputes between Pakistan and India.



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