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Terrorism haunts Iran-Pakistan pipeline

Oct. 24, 2011 at 9:54 AM   |   Comments

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Washington is pressuring Islamabad to scrap an Iranian natural gas pipeline, though regional terrorist groups might be having more of an impact, a report says.

Pakistani energy officials in August said Islamabad may look to foreign investors to help pay for the construction of a pipeline to deliver natural gas from Iran. Pakistan is dealing with a lingering energy crisis because of gas shortages.

Tehran signed a $7.5 billion natural gas deal with Islamabad in 2009.

Five days after that deal was signed, Sunni insurgent group Jundallah, which has been fighting authorities in Iran, claimed responsibility for an attack at an Iranian mosque that killed 20 people, notes Pakistani newspaper Dawn.

Jundallah has struck several high-profile targets along the proposed route for the Iranian gas pipeline.

Dawn adds that Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, another group designated a terrorist organization, is ramping up militant activity along the border region. This throws up more roadblocks before the project, the newspaper adds.

The status of the natural gas pipeline has been a subject of debate since its inception as the so-called Peace Pipeline in the 1990s.

India was included in the initial pipeline plans but has stayed on the sidelines in recent years. New Delhi has worked with Washington on civilian nuclear energy programs and U.S. officials have expressed reservations over the Iranian pipeline project.

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