Pakistan will trigger US sanctions if it goes ahead with IP pipeline project: Nuland
Islamabad, Mar. 12 : Pakistan would risk triggering US sanctions if it pursues its plans to go ahead with the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project worth 7.5 billion dollars, a senior US official has reiterated.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the US has serious concerns, and if the project actually goes forward, the Iran Sanctions Act would be triggered, reports The News.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched the construction of a much-delayed section of the gas pipeline with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari at a ceremony on the border of the two neighbours.
However Nuland said that the US has heard the pipeline being announced about 10 or 15 times before in the past, adding that this time they would have to see what actually happens.
Earlier, US State Department Spokesman Patrick Ventrell had said that it is in Pakistan's best interests to avoid any sanction-able activity, and that the US is providing a better way to meet Pakistan's energy needs.
Nuland said the US was supporting large-scale energy projects in Pakistan that will add some 900 megawatts to the power grid by the end of 2013. Those projects included renovating the power plants at Tarbela, the Mangla Dam, as well as modernising others plants and building new dams at Satpara and Gomal Zam, she added.
Pakistan has pursued the pipeline scheme as a way of alleviating severe energy shortages that have sparked demonstrations and battered a weak government. At the same time, it badly needs the billions of dollars it receives in US aid.
Iran has completed 900 km of pipeline on its side of the border and Iranian contractors will also construct the pipeline in Pakistan.
The project faces security challenges posed by ethnic Baloch militants who have demanded greater control over Balochistan's natural resources and by Iranian Sunni insurgents also based in Pakistan who are fighting for greater rights in Iran.