TEHRAN (Agencies) – Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has underlined Pakistan’s firm determination to continue the project for importing gas supplies from Iran irrespective of the US pressures.
“Despite the US conditions for Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, we will continue this great project,” Qureshi said in an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency (FNA) on Sunday.
Pointing to the ineffectiveness of the ongoing pressures by Washington to hinder the project, the Minister stated, “Pakistan is currently facing an energy crisis and Iran-Pakistani gas project, thus, serves Pakistan’s interests.”
Earlier, India rejected a call from the US to walk away from the pipeline project carrying natural gas from Iran through Pakistan, saying “energy security” is a priority for its rapidly growing economy.
The Indian External Affairs Ministry stressed that energy security was of prime concern to the country and the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline was an important part of its plans.
The US is currently pursuing additional sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council. The 2700-kilometre-long pipeline was to supply gas for Pakistan and India which are suffering a lack of energy sources, but India has evaded talks. Last year Iran and Pakistan declared they would finalise the agreement bilaterally if India continued to be absent in meetings.
In a major breakthrough on March 20, 2009, the Pakistani government approved Iran’s proposed pricing formula for gas supplies to the South Asian nation. According to the project proposal, the pipeline will begin from Iran’s Assalouyeh Energy Zone in the south and stretch over 1,100km through Iran.
It will pass through Balochistan and Sindh but officials now say the route may be changed if China agrees to the project.
The gas will be supplied from the South Pars field. The initial capacity of the pipeline will be 22 billion cubic meters of natural gas per annum, which is expected to be later raised to 55 billion cubic meters. It is expected to cost $7.4 billion.