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Pakistan warms to Iranian gas pipeline

June 20, 2013 at 6:46 AM
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ISLAMABAD, June 20 (UPI) -- There is no reason for the Pakistani government to delay the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Iran, the natural resources minister said.

Iran wants to construct a natural gas pipeline from the South Pars natural gas complex in the Persian Gulf across the border to Pakistan. The U.S. government objects to the project because of the eventual economic benefits to Tehran.

Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaquan Abbasi told The News International, a Pakistani newspaper, there was no reason to hold off on the project because of domestic energy concerns.

"I am surprised over the objection about the Iran-Pakistan project because the gas to be imported by Pakistan wouldn't have any brand as 'made in Iran' wouldn't be written on the gas," he said in an interview published Thursday.

Aging infrastructure and an inability to pay its bills has left Pakistan struggling to find a way to resolve lingering electricity shortages. The government discussed how to resolve the energy crisis while negotiating a bailout package this week with the International Monetary Fund.

Iran has offered Pakistan a $10 million loan to help with construction costs.

"I don't see any reason for objecting and keep it in mind the agreement is between to sovereign states for the benefit of their people," the minister said.

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