Majlis Energy Commission spokesman says if Pakistan does not begin project in its territory, Iran will use pipeline to transfer gas to Sistan-Baluchestan province and south-western regions
The implementation of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project, which will conduit Iranian gas to Pakistan, has been delayed due to political pressures, said the spokesman of Iranian Majlis Energy Commission.
In an interview with ‘Iran Daily’, Hossein Amiri Khamkani Monday called on Pakistan to fulfil its commitments in this respect at the earliest if it is really in need of gas from Iran. He noted that Iran has laid the pipeline up to its joint border with Pakistan and has met its commitments.
“In case Pakistan does not begin the project in its territory, Iran will use the pipeline to transfer gas to Sistan-Baluchestan province and the country’s south-western regions.”
This is while, a few days ago, Pakistani Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi vowed that the country will complete the pipeline by the end of 2016 and begin gas imports from Iran as of 2017. He further noted that negotiations are underway with Iran to extend the deadline of exporting the first gas consignments from 2014 to 2016 or 2017.
Khamkani said, “The pipeline should have been established a long time ago. Pakistani officials should know that by not fulfilling their commitments, they have delayed the implementation of the project. Iran, however, did not fine Islamabad for the delay as stipulated in the agreement signed by the two countries.”
Iran is currently compromising with Pakistan as it feels committed to meeting the energy needs of the people of Pakistan, he noted, adding however, this, by no means, implies that it is acceptable for Pakistan not to begin the project due to political pressures.
“The Pakistani side is required to do something in this respect to demonstrate its willingness to complete the plan.” He said Iran has always voiced readiness to help Pakistan meet its gas needs and has even prepared the ground in this respect.
The construction of the pipeline can improve ties between the two countries and bring them closer, Majlis spokesman added. “The pipeline will help resolve the country’s energy needs to a large extent.”
The IP pipeline aims to help Pakistan overcome its growing energy needs at a time when the country of over 180 million people is grappling with serious energy shortages.
The United States has long been threatening Islamabad with economic sanctions if it goes ahead with the plan. Under the original agreement sealed between Iran and Pakistan, the first Iranian gas delivery to Pakistan was to start by December 31, 2014. Iran has already built 900 kilometres of the pipeline on its own territory and is waiting for the construction of the 700-kilometer Pakistani sector of the pipeline.