Ahmadinejad blasts US opposition to IP Gas Pipeline

TEHRAN: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the foreign powers’ justifications for opposing the construction of Iran-Pakistan gas pipelines, stressing that the pipeline will promote peace in the region.

Iran and Pakistan on Monday officially inaugurated the construction phase of a gas pipeline project which is due to take Iran’s rich gas reserves to the energy-hungry South Asian nation.

The project kicked off in a ceremony attended by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari at the two countries’ shared border region in Iran’s Southeastern city of Chabahar.

Addressing the ceremony, President Ahmadinejad pointed to foreign states’ opposition and actions to undermine the project under the excuse of Iran’s nuclear issue with the West, and said, “They are against Iran and Pakistan’s progress and have used the nuclear issue as their justification.”

Ahmadinejad said the gas pipeline has nothing to do with the nuclear issue, adding that the pipeline serves peace in the region.

“We didn’t expect your (western) companies to make investment in this pipeline which guarantees progress, prosperity and peace in the region, but if they don’t like to join this project for any given reason, they are not entitled to rock the boat and disturb the project,” Ahmadinejad said addressing the US.

Earlier today, Ahmadinejad and Zardari stressed that the pipeline would guarantee security of both countries and the region.

They also underlined the necessity for activating the two countries’ existing potentials in a bid to promote development and welfare of both the Iranian and Pakistani nations.

Yesterday, Pakistan said it is determined to build the gas pipeline with Iran despite the threat of US sanctions for the move.

Pakistan presumably isn’t willing to stop laying the infrastructure for the gas pipeline, as officials claim Pakistan is a depleted nation facing a chronic energy crisis.

If everything else goes well the pipeline will be completed in 15 months. Iran has already completed the pipeline in its territory, while the laying of 785-km-long Pakistani section was started on Monday.

The 2700-kilometer long pipeline was to supply gas for Pakistan and India which are suffering a lack of energy sources, but India has evaded talks. In 2011, Iran and Pakistan declared they would finalize the agreement bilaterally if India continued to be absent in the meeting.

According to the project proposal, the pipeline will begin from Iran’s Assalouyeh Energy Zone in the south and stretch over 1,100 km through Iran. In Pakistan, it will pass through Baluchistan and Sindh but officials now say the route may be changed if China agrees to the project. NNI