US convey reservations against IPI gas pipeline project

May 19th, 2008 - 2:44 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 19 (ANI): Pakistan should desist from carrying forward the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project because the present financial, political, legal and security circumstances did not favour it, and even Iran might eventually stall the pipeline project as it might short of resources, said a US State Department official.

Christian Faire, a South Asia expert working for the Rand Corporation, said that the US government continues to oppose the proposed IPI gas pipeline, while US experts argued that the project was not feasible in the foreseeable future.

We have longstanding points on doing business with Iran . Our stance is that we are concerned about the project. Financial, political, legal and security circumstances do not allow the pipeline to be built in the near future. Iran s refusal to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and accept UN restrictions on its nuclear programme further complicated the situation. We are giving the same message to the Indians and Pakistanis, the Dawn quoted Ms Faire as saying.

The State Department official said the US was not only concerned about the project but also had conveyed its concerns to the Indian and Pakistan governments. We have made the point that countries should not be conducting business as usual with Iran right now, she said.

Ms Faire argued that none of the three countries involved in the project had the resources to fund the pipeline. Serious security problems, particularly in Balochistan, also discouraged international investors, she said, and added: Virtually no public or private consortiums would want to build it because there is now also the issue of Iran s nuclear quest.

She said that while the US had no direct interest in the pipeline, it is the symbolism of it all that rankles the US .

Other experts also predicted that eventually Iran itself might stall the pipeline project. Robert Johnston of the Eurasia Group said the deal between Iran and India might not happen for at least a decade or two given the rising domestic demand in Iran . He said Iran would also have to take a strategic decision on how it wanted to expand its gas production and which projects brought in most money.

Ultimately Iran will find better projects for its gas. Two other options which are most attractive are either developing pipelines to Western Europe via Turkey or developing the LNG (liquefied natural gas) market in Asia, Johnston said. (ANI)

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