Get moving on gas pipeline, Iran says

Nov. 7, 2011 at 10:08 AM
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TEHRAN, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Iran needs to get moving on plans to finish a natural gas pipeline slated for consumers in energy-hungry Pakistan, a deputy official said.

Tehran signed a $7.5 billion natural gas deal with Islamabad in 2009 that included plans for a pipeline from Iran's South Pars gas field. 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, however.

Ali Abdollahi, Iran's deputy security minister, was quoted as saying security wasn't an obstacle to pipeline construction plans.

"The Iranian Oil Ministry must follow up on this issue and complete the pipeline as soon as possible," he told Iran's Press TV.

Sunni insurgent group Jundallah has struck several high-profile targets along the proposed route for the pipeline. Five days after the 2009 deal was signed, Jundallah claimed responsibility for an attack at an Iranian mosque that killed 20 people.

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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