Islamabad, Mar 8: The United States has reiterated its reservations on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.
The News quoted State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, as saying that the gas pipeline accord with Iran was against UN sanctions.
She further said that the US was making efforts to help resolve energy crisis in Pakistan and to advance Mangla and Jamshoro power plants.
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had recently made a two-day visit to Iran for finalising the gas pipeline deal and sorting out financing and technical issues. He said Pakistan would go ahead with the project despite US’ reservations.
Earlier, US State Department Spokesman Patrick Ventrell had said that it is in Pakistan’s best interests to avoid any sanction-able activity, and that the US is providing a better way to meet Pakistan’s energy needs.
The project has time and again run into problems. It initially started in 1994 as Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, but in 2009 India separated itself from the project to get a civil nuclear deal from the US.
The US pressure was so intense that at one stage even a Chinese-led consortium ditched the project.
Tehran has agreed to provide a 500 million-dollar loan to partially finance construction of the pipeline on the Pakistan side, which will cost 1.5 billion dollars. Pakistan will pay the remaining cost from its own resources.
The pipeline is expected to be completed in 15 months. Iran has already completed the pipeline in its territory, while the laying of 785-km-long Pakistani section will commence now. Pakistan plans to import 21.5 million cubic metres of gas daily from Iran via the pipeline. (ANI)