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Pakistan to deter any external interference on Iran gas project: FM

Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar is seen while addressing a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad on May 7, 2024. (Photo by the Associated Press of Pakistan)

Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar has reiterated that the country will deter external interference when it comes to complying with the terms of a natural gas import contract with neighboring Iran.

Dar said in a press conference on Tuesday that Pakistan, as a sovereign nation, is committed to making decisions in its best interests to address energy demands and to meet international obligations.

He was responding to a question about Pakistan’s actions on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline case.

Pakistan approved earlier this year to start the construction of an 80-kilometer pipeline from its border with Iran to its southwestern port city of Gwadar. That came just as the country was nearing a deadline set by Iran to start pipeline construction under the 2009 agreement or face international legal action.

The announcement triggered a negative reaction from the United States, which maintains a harsh regime of economic sanctions on Iran.

US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu told a congressional hearing in early April that the US government was working to prevent the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. He said that Islamabad had not requested a waiver from US sanctions on Iran to conduct gas trade with its western neighbor.

Pakistani officials have indicated that the country does not need a sanctions waiver to build pipelines to import natural gas from Iran.

The gas pipeline project has an old and complicated history and Pakistan makes any decisions based on its national interests and will never accept foreign dictation, said Dar, according to a translation of his Tuesday remarks provided by the Islamabad correspondent of Iran’s official IRNA news agency.

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