Over US Threats, Pakistan, Iran Push for Gas Pipeline
Presidents meet to inaugurate project
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Mar 11, 2013 2:04 PM CDT
Iranian workers weld gas pipes together at the start of construction on a pipeline to transfer natural gas from Iran to Pakistan, in southeastern Iran, near the Pakistani border, March 11, 2013.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

(Newser) – Pakistan is starting work on a gas pipeline to Iran, a long-planned project that the US says threatens anti-nuclear sanctions against Tehran. Iran has nearly finished its own section of the pipeline; today, presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Asif Ali Zardari attended a border ceremony. Some 485 miles of pipeline are planned for Pakistan as it wrestles with an energy crisis, the BBC reports.

But the deal raises "serious concerns under our Iran Sanctions Act," says a US state department rep. "We've made that absolutely clear to our Pakistani counterparts." The pipeline, the US says, would mean more gas sales for Iran; the project itself could face sanctions. But it's "in Pakistan's national interest," Pakistan's foreign minister said last year, adding that the effort would be carried out "irrespective of any extraneous considerations." Talks for the project began in 1994 and included India, which dropped out a year after signing a US nuclear agreement.

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Showing 3 of 23 comments
Mar 11, 2013 9:57 PM CDT
If carried through, this is the single most major major contribution of the outgoing Government of Mr. Zardari to the people of Pakistan who have not heard a good news in five years. I am surprised by the timing of it though .. just four days prior to the expiry of the current Government this deal has been inked .. but nevertheless it's a good development that the people of Pakistan will be benefiting from the gesture of a brotherly Muslim country Iran. We need gas for our daily use in our homes, for our vehicles, for our mills and factories, and for our power plants to produce electricity as Pakistan has been undergoing through 20 hours of power outages per day. Electricity drives the economy and when there is no electricity there is no economy, no jobs, and lots of unrest, intolerance, and violence. I am sure our friendly country and an ally, the United States of America, understands our problems and will support this development as in the wake of its withdrawal from Afghanistan we can do so much together in areas of education, all sectors of economy, and rebuilding of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Happy partners will contribute in any businesses once hostilities end in this part of the world. We deserve peace and economic well being. It's about the time. Mahboob Khan World's Peace Activist Director, Cardio Tennis Islamabad Club, Islamabad Pakistan email: makhan67@hotmail.com
Mar 11, 2013 8:33 PM CDT
Other countries have a right to live. Their citizens have a right to get their cars fueled, go to work etc. What would happen here if Saudi, Nigeria, Mexico Venezula and other oil producing countries put a sanction on us"....????? One Planet, One People. 1942
Mar 11, 2013 3:59 PM CDT
What about UNOCAL's pipeline? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Afghanistan_Pipeline