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Pakistan to seek US sanctions waiver on gas pipeline project with Iran

Pakistan-Iran Gas Pipeline. (Composite Image: PressTV)

The government of Pakistan appears determined to finish a multibillion dollar gas transmission project with Iran, despite stiff opposition from the US.

Petroleum Minister of Pakistan Musadik Malik stated that Islamabad urgently needs the gas transfer project with Iran and intends to pursue exemptions from US sanctions by presenting both technical and political justifications for the project's completion.

During a congressional hearing in Washington last week, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Donald Lu was explicit in his declaration that Washington opposes the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project and is making concerted efforts to thwart its construction.

Experts believe that Islamabad's stance on the gas transfer project with Iran is not merely a matter of preference, but rather a necessity given the current circumstances.

We have to look into things a little deeply. Turkey and Iraq are currently purchasing Iranian gas, yet they are not under US sanctions.

We have to see what mechanism they are using, Turkey, Iraq and the Iranian governments, so that we can adopt the same mechanism to avoid any sanctions from the United States because we have to provide energy for our people. They need cheap energy.

Anwar Abbas, Energy Expert

Iran has granted Pakistan a 180-day extension of the deadline until September 2024.

If Islamabad fails to provide a favorable response by then, Iran will be obliged to initiate arbitration proceedings at the Paris-based ICC International Court of Arbitration, seeking damages totaling 18 billion US dollars.

Iran has already invested 2 billion US dollars in the pipeline, known as the Peace Pipeline, on its side of the border.

Iran has completed 95 to 96% of the work on the gas pipeline.

The pertinent ministries from both countries are engaged in talks for the completion of this vital project.

We have been waiting for Pakistan's response since 2009.

We hope that the ministries from both sides will show their seriousness and will complete it without any further delay whatsoever.

Reza Amiri Moghadam, Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan

Tehran has proposed cooperation not only in the field of energy, but also in fostering barter trade and enhancing economic relations with Pakistan.

Despite the significant potential benefits, the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project has encountered formidable challenges due to American opposition and threats of sanctions.

Pakistan stresses that the project represents a strategic economic partnership with Iran and that it will press ahead to complete the much needed project regardless of the challenges.

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