US warned that Iran pipeline project could result in sanctions: Nawaz Sharif

Iranians work on a section of a pipeline linking Iran and Pakistan after the project was launched during a ceremony in the Iranian border city of Chah Bahar on March 11, 2013. (AFP Photo / Atta Kenare)

Islamabad: The US has warned Pakistan that its bilateral gas pipeline project with Iran could attract American sanctions, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said.

The United States had warned that it could invoke sanctions against the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project in future, Sharif said without giving details.

He made the remarks while interacting with a delegation of the Pakistan Journalists Forum at his son’s home at Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, where he is on a private visit.

Last week, Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said Pakistan would continue work on the pipeline and “discuss the project with the new Iranian cabinet for seeking the entire financing” for the USD 1.8 billion venture.

Reports said Pakistan wants Iran to fully finance the project due to fears that US sanctions could hit funding for the project.

Iran is facing sanctions and the Foreign Office has been asked to assess the impact of US curbs on the pipeline, Abbasi said.

Tehran had told the previous Pakistan People’s Party-led government that it would provide a loan of USD 500 million for the project.

Pakistan was expected to raise the remaining amount from global financial organisations. Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry said last week that the government had presented US Secretary of State John Kerry a “non-paper” on the pipeline to convey Pakistan’s
perspective that the project is being undertaken to address the country’s acute energy requirements.

Sharif further told the journalists that he had clearly conveyed Pakistan’s demand for ending the CIA’s drone campaign in the tribal belt during his recent meeting with Kerry in Islamabad.

On Thursday, Kerry held out the hope that the drone campaign could end “very soon”. His comments were subsequently played down by the US State Department.

By First Post World

 

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