An Iranian deputy oil minister says a Pakistani delegation is currently in Tehran to discuss construction of the pipeline, which is planned to take Iran’s natural gas to its eastern neighbor.
Deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs and Trade Amir Hossein Zamaninia was quoted by Iranian media as saying on Sunday that the Pakistani delegates are currently in Iran to discuss resumption of the construction of the pipeline on Pakistan’s soil with Iranian officials.
“Pakistani officials have indicated their willingness to resume construction of the Iran gas pipeline,” Zamaninia noted, adding that negotiations have not been finalized yet and the two sides are still engaged in preliminary talks.
The pipeline, which is also known as the Peace Pipeline, is meant to transfer natural gas from Iran’s huge South Pars gas field in Assaluyeh to Pakistan. Iran has already completed its 900-kilometer portion of the pipeline and has long pressed Pakistan to build its part of the scheme. However, Pakistan has so far failed to implement its share of the project due to what officials say to be a lack of funds.
Zamaninia stated that construction of the Pakistani side of the pipeline will be most probably carried out through Pakistan’s investment.
According to a contract signed between Tehran and Islamabad in 2008, Iran’s gas flow to Pakistan should have started in December 2014. Islamabad is contractually obliged to pay fines for delays in making the project operational.
During a visit to Islamabad by China’s President Xi Jinping in April, Pakistani officials said Beijing would invest in building the pipeline to bring natural gas from Iran. They added that 700 kilometers of the pipeline will be built by the Chinese investors and the remaining 80 km by Islamabad.
Pakistan’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said last month that Islamabad was hopeful to revive the stalled project after the finalization of Iran’s nuclear talks.
“A lot of issues that have built up over the years will be resolved, especially the Iran-Pakistan pipeline … that has been hit by the [anti-Iran] sanctions,” Abbasi said.
After marathon talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna, Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – reached a conclusion on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), according to which the sanctions imposed on Iran will be removed in return for certain limits on the country’s nuclear program.
By Press TV