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Iran Cautions Pakistan Over Delay In Pipeline Project

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Tehran has cautioned Islamabad over falling behind schedule in fulfilling its obligations with regard to a multi-billion-dollar pipeline project that would take natural gas from Iran to Pakistan.

“Regarding a contract on selling [natural] gas to Pakistan, given the commitments under the joint deal, the Iranian side has completed more than 75 percent of the gas pipeline on Iranian soil so far,” said Iranian Deputy Oil Minister for International and Trade Affairs Ali Majedi on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, the Pakistani side has not taken any serious measures to deliver on its commitments under the contract,” he noted.

Majedi’s remarks come after Pakistan Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said one day earlier that it was not possible to work on the pipeline due to sanctions against Iran.

Majedi rejected Abbasi’s remarks, saying it would be imprudent for Pakistan to link the failure to abide by its commitments to the sanctions imposed on Iran.

“At the time of inking the contract, there was heavy pressure on Pakistan and there were attempts to dissuade the country from signing the agreement,” Majdi said.

However, Majedi added, the Pakistani side paid no heed to the threats and signed the contract at the highest level despite being aware of the anti-Iran sanctions.

Iran expects the Pakistani side to honor its commitments and make up for its delay before the deadline for implementing the project expires, he noted.

The Iran-Pakistan pipeline is designed to help Pakistan meet its growing energy needs. The US has long been threatening Islamabad with economic sanctions if it goes ahead with the project.

Under to the original agreement sealed between Iran and Pakistan, the first Iranian gas delivery to Pakistan should start by December 31, 2014. Iran has already built more than 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its own soil and is waiting for the 700-kilometer Pakistani side of the pipeline to be constructed.

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