Sunday, April 14, 2024

US ‘doesn’t support’ IP gas pipeline

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WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD:

The US on Tuesday said it did not support the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project from going forward and cautioned about the risk of sanctions in doing business with Tehran, days after Petroleum Minister Musadik Malik said the government was seeking a sanctions waiver from Washington.

“We always advise everyone that doing business with Iran runs the risk of touching upon and coming in contact with our sanctions, and would advise everyone to consider that very carefully,” a US State Department spokesperson told reporters in a press briefing.

“We do not support this pipeline going forward,” the spokesperson said, adding that Donald Lu, the State Department’s top official for South and Central Asia, had said as much to a congressional panel last week.

Meanwhile, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Wednesday in a meeting with Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Reza Amiri Moghadam stressed the need for effective road-rail transit routes to boost economic cooperation.

Read more: Pakistan to seek US waiver for Iran gas pipeline project

The Iranian envoy paid a courtesy visit to the minister and congratulated him on assuming his office. During the meeting, the potential areas of cooperation for the upcoming visit of the Iranian president to Pakistan came under discussion, a planning ministry news statement read.

Iqbal highlighted the historical ties between Pakistan and Iran, acknowledging Tehran’s energy as a vital resource. The minister proposed leveraging it to alleviate Pakistan’s power crisis, particularly considering the cost-effectiveness of Iran’s energy resources. He also advocated reviving the cargo train service between Pakistan, Iran and Turkey initiated in 2009 under the Economic Cooperation Organisation.

Read more: Iran seeks extension in gas pipeline deal

The ambassador commended the strategic significance of Chabahar, Gwadar and Karachi ports for trade. He expressed Iran’s commitment to connecting Chabahar port with the Zahidan railway network, potentially extending connectivity to Russia and Central Asian countries. The Gabd-Rimdan border crossing was identified as a more viable option than Quetta-Taftan, given its proximity to Gwadar and Chabahar.

Iqbal proposed adopting Iran’s vocational and technical training mechanism to empower unemployed youth in Balochistan.
During the meeting, both sides agreed that strong bilateral ties between the two countries could contribute to reducing tendencies of terrorism and extremism in the region.

 

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