‘Pakistan, Iran to finalise gas pipeline project by 25th’
* Iranian envoy says the two countries cementing economic ties
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Iran are set to finalise an agreement on a multi-billion gas pipeline project by January 25 this year, Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Mashallah Shakeri said on Sunday.
“The Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project is one of the most important economic projects in the region, which will bring extensive benefits for the three countries,” the envoy said in an interview.
He said the measures taken by Pakistan and Iran showed the two countries’ firm will for executing the project. He said Iran had started executing the project by laying the pipeline from its gas reserves to its border with Pakistan. He hoped that India would also join the project and the project would be pursued trilaterally.
Answering a question about Iran’s apprehensions on the political unrest in Pakistan, he said, “Iran wants a peaceful, developed, independent and stable Pakistan, and it will leave no stone unturned to extend every essential assistance that its brotherly neighbouring country needs.” He hoped that the current political crisis in Pakistan would soon be resolved and the country be put on the track of progress and prosperity.
Economic ties: Talking about the economic relations between Pakistan and Iran, the Iranian diplomat said the two countries were enhancing their economic relations.
He said both countries had increased their target of the volume of commercial exchanges to $1 billion in one year.
He was optimistic that the official trade volume — which now stands at $ 650 million — would soon reach the newly set target. Mashallah Shakeri said Iran was pursuing multilateral talks with the international community for its “peaceful nuclear programme”.
He said his country was cooperating with international groups, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, on its nuclear programme, by going “even beyond its legal obligations”.
He said Iran would continue the dialogue process with the international community for confidence building and to allay their concerns on Iran’s nuclear programme. He said the international groups had welcomed Iran’s cooperation and transparency.
He said the National Intelligence Estimate report released in the US last year confirmed that Iran’s nuclear programme was for peaceful purposes. nni