Source: Press TV
Islamabad has stepped up work on its bilateral agreements with Tehran including the implementation of a Pak-Iran gas pipeline project despite US threats.
“Construction work on the pipeline in Iranian area was completed. And on remaining portion that was to be constructed in Pakistani area the survey has been completed. Pakistan is bearing losses due to energy crises and it would go ahead with different options including Iran,” The Nation quoted a Pakistani official as saying on Thursday.
The Pakistani source added Islamabad had not backed down from its trade agreement with Iran.
On December 19, high-ranking Islamabad diplomats said the administration of Barack Obama is frustrated with the “rapid progress” of Pakistan's gas project with Iran, and is exhausting all its resources to sabotage the deal.
“They (US officials) have gone to the extent of threatening [Pakistan's] President [Asif Ali] Zardari of economic sanctions if work is not stopped immediately,” the official said.
Zardari, however, reportedly dismissed the threats, bluntly asserting that the commissioning of the project is vital and inevitable for the wellbeing of Pakistan's “fast crumbling” economy.
The USD 7.6 billion gas pipeline deal, which was signed in June 2010, aims to export a daily amount of 21.5 million cubic meters (or 8.7 billion cubic meters per year) of Iranian natural gas to Pakistan.
Iran and Pakistan finalized the details of the deal during bilateral talks held in Tehran in October 2007.
In addition to exporting gas to Turkey, Armenia, and Pakistan, Iran is currently negotiating gas exports to Iraq.