TEHRAN, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Islamabad has no intentions of abandoning a trilateral natural gas pipeline from Iran's South Pars gas field, a spokesman for Pakistan's foreign ministry said.
Islamabad is struggling to stave off a looming energy crisis by courting its Asian partners for more natural gas deliveries.
Iran has plans to build a pipeline from South Pars in the Persian Gulf through Pakistan and on to India. Turkmenistan, meanwhile, aims to deliver gas through Afghanistan, Pakistan and India in a Western-backed project.
Abdul Basit, a spokesman for the Pakistani Foreign Ministry, told Iran's state-funded broadcaster Press TV that the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline was important to his country.
"This project is very important for us, for our economic growth as Pakistan is facing a huge energy deficit," he was quoted as saying. "So we attach an immense importance to this project and I don't think that Pakistan will abandon this project."
Washington favors the Turkmenistan project over IPI, which would deliver huge benefits to the Islamic republic. International and unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran, meanwhile, make investors nervous about energy deals in the country.
Basit, however, brushed off the economic pressure saying the trilateral gas pipeline, once dubbed the Peace Pipeline, "does not fall under the scope of the (U.N.) resolution" dealing with Iran's sanctions.
Tehran aims to deliver more than 740 million cubic feet of natural gas each year through IPI, which could start operating as early as 2013, Press TV said.