Pakistan may face sanctions over gas pipeline with Iran: US

WASHINGTON: Pakistan could face tough US sanctions if it goes ahead with the multi-billion Iran-Pak gas pipeline, a top American diplomat has said.

The Obama Administration is having discussions in this regard with Pakistan, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Windy Sherman told lawmakers at a Congressional hearing.

“On Pakistan, we have had those discussions (on Iran-Pak gas pipeline) and will continue with the Pakistani government. My own assessment is it’s not going anywhere anytime soon,” Sherman told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“But they (Pakistan) certainly understand where we are and what our sanctions require should it proceed,” she said.

“So we will keep vigilant about not only what Pakistan may do, but any country that is going to have to confront the sanctions that the United States and the international community has at its disposal,” Sherman said in response to a question from Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“Last week Pakistan’s prime minister said he intended to more forward with a natural gas pipeline deal with Iran that was agreed to by the previous government with Pakistan,” Menendez said.

“If that were to take place, it would be in clear violation of our Iran sanctions regime,” the top American Senator said.