TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran may extend the deadline for the construction of the Pakistani side of a joint gas pipeline between the two countries after Islamabad asked Tehran for two more years to get prepared for the start of imports, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Tuesday.
“The Pakistanis have asked for a two-year extension of the deadline and we have not rejected their demand; some legal negotiations are, of course, needed between the two sides,” Zanganeh told reporters on the sidelines of an economic forum in Tehran on Tuesday.
He noted that Iran’s gas export policy attaches much importance to the neighboring countries, namely Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Last month, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister for international affairs Ali Majedi said that the Pakistani government has presented a new proposal to the Iranian Oil Ministry for the settlement of a dispute over the implementation of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project.
“In their proposals, the Pakistanis have offered different solutions for accelerating the construction of IP pipeline and have demanded action on the issue. The details of the proposal are being studied,” said Majedi.
He did not reveal details of the Pakistani proposal, but rejected reports of Pakistan demanding $2bln in aid from Iran to build its own section of the pipeline.
Pakistan desperately needs to import natural gas from Iran to resolve its loadshedding challenge.
Iran has already built its 900-kilometer share of the pipeline on its own soil and is waiting for the 700-kilometer Pakistani side of the pipeline to be built.
Iran and Pakistan signed an agreement over the construction of a gas pipeline in 1995. Later, Iran made a proposal to extend the pipeline from Pakistan into India. In February 1999, an accord between Iran and India was signed.
But due to the US pressure, India withdrew from the project in 2009.
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