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Pakistan unlikely to get Iran's gas?

Oct. 26, 2011 at 8:11 AM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Getting a natural gas pipeline built from Iran to Pakistan depends to some extent on the reaction from the international community, a Pakistani official said.

Tehran has said it finished work on its section of a pipeline from the South Pars natural gas complex in the Persian Gulf. Pakistani officials said recently they were interested in starting work on their side of the border.

Asim Hussain, Pakistan's minister for petroleum and natural resources, said both sides were working on the steps needed to get the pipeline completed.

"Progress on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project depends on international understanding," he was quoted by Pakistan's News International as saying. The newspaper suggests his comments mean Pakistan isn't likely to get gas from Iran any time soon.

Washington has reservations regarding the project because of the economic benefit for Iran. The U.S. State Department said that Washington and Islamabad were committed to finding "practical solutions" to addressing Pakistan's energy needs.

The Pakistani report notes Islamabad in August asked Tehran for a six-month waiver on getting started on its part of the project. A top energy official told the newspaper on condition of anonymity, however, that Islamabad wants another extension.

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