Pakistan Says Committed to IP Pipeline

Pakistan Says Committed to IP Pipeline
Pakistan Says Committed to IP Pipeline

Iran has laid 90 percent of its share of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline, with 250 kilometers of the pipeline remaining to be laid within the Pakistani border, Pakistani oil minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said, Shana news agency reported Friday.

"We see the IP pipeline not only as a professional commitment, but also as a symbol of brotherhood between the two countries," he said during a meeting with Majlis speaker Ali Larijani. "The project is expected to be completed within 24 months."

Abbasi reassured the Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh that Pakistan has done everything in its power to complete the pipeline, but international circumstances have not allowed for the project to go according to plan.

Laying the so-called Peace Pipeline on the Iranian side cost $2.5 billion.  The 780 km pipeline in Pakistan has not been completed due to funding difficulties faced by the Pakistani government. According to preliminary agreements between the two countries, Pakistan must pay Iran $200 million per month in penalties if the country cannot begin exporting gas to its southeastern neighbor by the end of 2014.

Larijani also said the completion of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) pipeline will be to the benefit of the two countries and would establish sustainable relations in the region.

"Iran and Pakistan have strong economic relations, but bigger steps must be taken two expand mutual cooperation."

Iran's trade with Turkey is close to $20 billion per year and $14 billion with UAE. Annual trade with Pakistan is below $1 billion per year, and Larijani called for a boost in trade with that country. First deputy speaker of the Majlis Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi Fard accused Pakistani officials of only speaking of completing the IP pipeline, but not taking any practical steps.

"Iran is ready to expand ties with Pakistan. Iranian officials, and above all, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei want to see the pipeline completed as soon as possible," he said in a meeting with Seyyed Hossein Bokhari, chairman of the Pakistan Senate.

According to Bokhari, Pakistan is calling on international organizations to help address the IP pipeline issue. "Iran has fulfilled its part of the commitment in the IP project, and Pakistan looks forward to completing its part in the near future."