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US opposes Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, trying to halt its construction: Official

The photo shows an Iranian worker standing in front of a section of a pipeline on March 11, 2013 in the Iranian border city of Chabahar.( Via Getty Images)

The US assistant secretary of State for South and Central Asia says the United States opposes the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project.

Speaking to congressmen during a congressional hearing in Washington on Wednesday, Donald Lu said the US is exerting maximum efforts to prevent the construction of the IP project.

He added that the US is concerned about the strain in Pakistan’s relations with neighboring Iran, particularly on the IP gas pipeline project.

The US official noted that Washington was in contact with Islamabad on the matter.

Emphasizing the importance of monitoring the funding for the mega energy project, Lu said the US is keeping a close watch on it.

"Washington has not received any request from Islamabad regarding sanctions relief, so our efforts to stop Pakistan from Iran’s gas project will continue," the diplomat added.

Lu claimed that the project was not in the interest of Pakistan as international companies would not invest in it.

Back in February, Pakistan gave the green light for advancing much-delayed work on the joint gas pipelines project with Iran within its territory in a significant step towards enhancing energy cooperation between the two countries.

Pakistan’s Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) granted its approval to start construction on the 80-kilometer pipeline from the Pak-Iran border to Gwadar.

The project, launched in 2013, had initially required Pakistan to finish the construction of the pipeline on its territory by the end of 2014.

However, the project faced prolonged delays due to the potential challenges it posed for Pakistan amid international sanctions targeting Iran.

Pakistan is likely to face an $18-billion fine if it terminates the gas pipeline agreement.

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