Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Foreign office briefing: Commitment to Iran gas pipeline could fire US fury

ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan will not abandon the multibillion-dollar Iran gas pipeline project, despite the threat of sanctions from the United States if Islamabad went ahead with the plan.

“There is no change in our stance and we are working to complete the project by 2014. We believe that this project is beyond the scope of the relevant UN resolutions which we are obliged to comply with like all other member states,” said Abdul Basit, the foreign ministry spokesperson, on Thursday. The ‘scope’ he mentions refers to sanctions the UN imposed on Iran over its nuclear programme.

For this reason, Washington is pushing Islamabad to give up the plan to import gas from neighbouring Iran. However, the government has so far publicly resisted the pressure, arguing the project is vital for the country’s energy needs.

Basit said that Pakistan has studied the US legislation about sanctions on Iran and it is clear they do not cover the Pak-Iran gas pipeline. The spokesman added that Pakistan had repeatedly said that Iran’s nuclear issue should be resolved peacefully through negotiation and dialogue by the international community. Read More