dimanche, avril 03, 2005

Washington’s support for Iran-India pipeline possible

ISLAMABAD: The proposed Iran-India gas pipeline, which is to pass through Pakistan, may receive American approval if both sides jointly seek Washington’s support for the project, insiders have said.

It is expected that once the plan for laying the pipeline is finalised, Pakistan and India would strategise to muster the desired US support.

Well-placed diplomatic sources revealed that Washington is very closely monitoring the developments pertaining to gas pipeline since Tehran is defying the US.

The pipeline project is supposed to be financed by a consortium on which the US companies are to be on board. The pipeline would cost about $4.2bn and no US company would invest/take part in any project relating to Iran without obtaining a waiver from the US president.

The sources said Pakistan and India might finalise their plan of action for the gas pipeline from Iran some time next month after Indian Minister of Petroleum Mani Shanker Aiyar proceeds to Tehran to arrive at an understanding with the Iranian government.

Indian Minister of External Affairs Kunwar Natwar Singh is also planning to visit the United States some time next month. He is expected to hold preliminary discussions with the US authorities on the gas pipeline project to convince them abandon opposition to the same.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also visiting the United States by mid-year. He will be meeting US President George Bush in Washington. The gas pipeline project would also figure in their meeting, the sources added.

Sources said the United States wants to use the laying of the pipeline as leverage against Iran as the pipeline would have a great financial impact for that country.

Washington has some serious reservations about Iran’s external policies and it would seek some assurances through third party from Tehran in order to remove its objections about Iran, the sources said.

The Americans have conveyed their position about the project to Islamabad and New Delhi. They are in constant touch with both the countries on the subject.

Source ::: Internews

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