Iranian lawmaker Mehdi Sanaei says Washington’s opposition to the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project stems from its fears over the increase of Tehran’s economic influence in the region.
“The West and particularly the US do not want the project to be implemented and are worried about the spread of Iran’s economic influence in the region,” the member of Iran's Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee said on Monday.
“At the same time, there is no excuse for stopping the project as the pipeline has reached Pakistan’s border and Iran has announced its readiness to offer the Pakistani side a loan for investment,” Sanaei said.
He noted the gas pipeline has great economic benefits for Iran, Pakistan and India and would deepen regional relations.
The pipeline will enable the export of 21.5 million cubic meters (mcm) of Iran’s natural gas to Pakistan on a daily basis. Iran has already built more than 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its soil.
Pakistan has dismissed rumors that it might pull out of the project amid pressures by the United States.
On January 29, an Iranian deputy oil minister said Tehran would finance and help build the 700-kilometer section of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline on the Pakistani side.
“Apart from a 250-million-dollar loan, Iran will also provide the supplies and equipment necessary for the construction of the segment of the pipeline on Pakistani soil,” said Javad Owji, who is also managing director of the National Iranian Gas Company.