Iran 'not hopeful' of exporting gas to Pakistan

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Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Wednesday he had no hope Iran would be able to export gas to Pakistan, state news agency IRNA reported.

While the “peace pipeline” was conceived in the 1990s to connect Iran’s southern gas fields to Pakistan and India, the project has seemingly come to halt due to financial reasons and looming U.S. threats.

Earlier this month, Pakistani Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi asked Iran for $2 billion to help build its side of a gas pipeline which should span 485 miles.

Abbasi was quoted by local media two days before Zanganeh’s announcement saying that Pakistan risked being punished if it proceeded with the project.

Under those conditions, "it is seems improbable to export gas" to Pakistan Zanganeh said.

While Iran has nearly completed its 900km side of the $7.5 project reaching the Pakistan border, Pakistan, facing financial issues and threats from the U.S., has been slow to make progress on its part of the pipeline.

Despite India’s initial inclusion in the project, it abandoned it in 2009 after it signed a nuclear deal with Washington, claiming the costs and security issues.

Per the agreement between the two countries, Iran was meant to export 21.5 million cubic meters of gas per day to Pakistan starting next year.

Iran possesses the largest gas reserves in the world but sanctions from the west have significantly slowed production as the U.S. have persuaded nations to seek oil supplies elsewhere. Currently, its only foreign client is Turkey.

(With AFP)

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