Iran urges Pakistan to complete gas pipeline project

Xinhua, Tehran :
Tehran has asked Islamabad to fulfill its commitment on the construction of multi-billion dollars pipeline that would take natural gas from Iran to Pakistan, Press TV reported Thursday.
“Regarding a contract on selling gas to Pakistan, given the commitments under the joint deal, the Iranian side has completed more than 75 percent of the gas pipeline on Iranian soil so far,” Iranian Deputy Oil Minister for International and Trade Affairs Ali Majedi was quoted as saying.
“Unfortunately, the Pakistani side has not taken any serious measures to carry out its commitments under the contract,” Majedi said in reference to Tuesday remarks of Pakistan Oil Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi that it was not possible to work on the pipeline due to sanctions against Iran by the United States and the European Union over the country’s controversial nuclear program.
“At the time of inking the contract, there was heavy pressure on Pakistan and there were attempts to dissuade the country from signing the agreement,” Majedi said, adding that however, the Pakistani side paid no heed to the threats and signed the contract at the highest level despite being aware of the anti- Iran sanctions.
The 7.5 billion dollars Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, which was launched in 2010 and aimed at easing Pakistan’s chronic gas and electricity shortages, has drawn threats of U.S. sanctions and run into repeated problems.
Pakistan has struggled to find money for the construction of 780-kilometre (485-mile) section on its side of the border.
In October, Islamabad asked Tehran to stump up 2 billion U.S. dollars to finish construction. But the Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said there was no hope of exporting gas to Pakistan because of the absence of the financing.
Investors and other governments are reluctant to get involved in the project due to the threat of breaching international sanctions on Iran.
Iran currently produces around 600 million cubic meters (21.2 billion cubic feet) of gas per day, most of which is consumed domestically.