US says it doesn’t support Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project

In World
March 27, 2024


The United States said on Tuesday that it does not support a Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project from going forward and cautioned about the risk of sanctions in doing business with Tehran.

Why it is important

The Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline, known as the Peace Pipeline, opens a new tab, is a long-term project between Tehran and Islamabad, and has faced delays and funding challenges for several years. The pipeline would transport natural gas from Iran to neighbouring Pakistan.

Iran and Pakistan had signed a five-year trade plan in August 2023 and set a bilateral trade target at $5 billion.

Petroleum Minister Musadik Malik said this week that his country was seeking a US sanctions waiver for the gas pipeline from Iran.

Read more:  Pakistan to seek US waiver for Iran gas pipeline project

  

“We cannot bear American sanctions. We will present our stance to the US,” Malik said. “Iran has been told multiple times that we need their gas. We want to complete this project but without any sanctions.”

The caretaker government opted to construct a portion of the 80-kilometre pipeline within its territory to pre-empt potential legal disputes with Iran in international courts.

Pakistan feared facing an $80 billion penalty if it lost the case in the international court, hence the decision to proceed with its portion of the pipeline while concurrently seeking a US waiver on sanctions related to the IP gas pipeline project.

“We always advise everyone that doing business with Iran runs the risk of touching upon and coming in contact with our sanctions, and would advise everyone to consider that very carefully,” a US State Department spokesperson told reporters in a press briefing.

Read more: Iran seeks extension in gas pipeline deal

“We do not support this pipeline going forward,” the spokesperson added, saying that Donald Lu, the State Department’s top official for South and Central Asia, had said as much to a congressional panel last week.

Context

A few weeks ago, Pakistan and Iran engaged, opens new tab in tit-for-tat strikes when they exchanged drone and missile strikes on militant bases on each other’s territory.

Washington’s relations, opens new tab with Iran have been thorny for a long time and the US has issued multiple rounds of sanctions on Iranian entities.

Officially allies in fighting extremism, Pakistan and the US have had a complicated relationship, opens new tab over the years, bound by Washington’s dependence on Pakistan to supply its troops during its long war in Afghanistan but plagued by accusations Islamabad played a double game.

Some Pakistani politicians have also accused Washington of meddling in Pakistan’s domestic politics, charges that Washington denies.

Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.