TEHRAN, March 10 (UPI) -- A pending deal between Islamabad and Tehran on a long-delayed pipeline from the South Pars gas field was postponed to March 31.
Hojatollah Ghanimifard, a top investment official at the National Iranian Oil Co., told the semiofficial Fars News Agency last week that there would be a signing ceremony Tuesday for the so-called Peace Pipeline.
Pakistani authorities, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reports, have delayed the signing to the end of the month because top negotiators were unavailable. IRNA said a lack of funding and U.S. pressure on Islamabad was another possible reason for the delay.
Washington opposes any deal that would give economic benefit to Iran, which is under international scrutiny for its controversial nuclear program.
The Peace Pipeline project was raised initially in 1994. Tehran and Islamabad signed a 25-year deal to transport gas from South Pars to Pakistan in 2009.
India has a role in the project proposal, though the government has balked on a formal commitment.
Indian Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora told lawmakers Tuesday, however, that his country was considering the Iranian project as well as the Western-backed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline.