Iran Backs Pipeline to China

Iran Backs Pipeline to China Iran Backs Pipeline to China

Iran is seeking to extend its energy delivery network to China under Beijing's massive "One Belt, One Road" push to boost regional connectivity, Tehran's envoy to China said.

"Setting up an extended network of energy pipelines would help regional security and development," Ali Asghar Khaji, Iran's ambassador to China, told the South China Morning Post.

The pipe laying project within Iran's border was carried out at a cost of $2.5 billion, however, the 780 km pipeline due in Pakistan has not been laid due to funding difficulties faced by the Pakistani government. Pakistan is now in negotiations with China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau, a subsidiary of Chinese energy major China National Petroleum Corporation, to finance 85 percent of the project.

The deal comes amid a push to build an economic corridor between Pakistan's port city of Gwadar and western China's Xinjiang region. "I don't think it's too far away [for] this pipeline to be extended to China through Pakistan. That is something that would be of common interest to Iran, China and Pakistan," Khaji said.

He also said the "One Belt, One Road" initiative could support the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Iran, Iraq and Syria to Europe - a project that observers say is in doubt because of the Syrian civil war and financial sanctions on Syria and Iran.

One Belt, One Road initiative is a Chinese framework for organizing multinational economic development through two component plans, the land-based "Silk Road Economic Belt" (SREB) and oceangoing "Maritime Silk Road" (MSR). The initiative was unveiled by President Xi Jinping in major announcements in September and October 2013 when plans for the SREB and MSR, respectively, were revealed.