US says doesn’t support Pakistan-Iran gas project going forward, warns of sanctions

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The US said on Tuesday it does not support a Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project from going forward and cautioned about the risk of sanctions in doing business with Tehran.

The Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline, known as the Peace Pipeline, is a long-term project between Tehran and Islamabad, and has faced delays and funding challenges for several years. The pipeline would transport natural gas from Iran to neighboring Pakistan.

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Iran and Pakistan had signed a five-year trade plan in August 2023 and set a bilateral trade target at $5 billion.

Pakistan’s Petroleum Minister Musadik Malik said this week that his country was seeking a US sanctions waiver for the gas pipeline from Iran.

“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 added, saying that Donald Lu, the State Department’s top official for South and Central Asia, had said as much to a congressional panel last week.

A few weeks ago, Pakistan and Iran engaged in tit-for-tat strikes when they exchanged drone and missile strikes on militant bases on each other’s territory.

Washington’s relations with Iran have been thorny for a long time and the US has issued multiple rounds of sanctions on Iranian entities.

Officially allies in fighting extremism, Pakistan and the US have had a complicated relationship over the years, bound by Washington’s dependence on Pakistan to supply its troops during its long war in Afghanistan but plagued by accusations Islamabad played a double game.

Some Pakistani politicians have also accused Washington of meddling in Pakistan’s domestic politics, charges that Washington denies.

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