Aletho News


US threatens Pakistan with sanctions over gas pipeline deal with Iran

Press TV – March 12, 2013

The US State Department has threatened Islamabad with sanctions if the country goes through with a joint multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline project with Iran.

“We have serious concerns, if this project actually goes forward, that the Iran Sanctions Act would be triggered,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Monday.

“We’ve been straight up with the Pakistanis about these concerns,” Nuland added.

The 1996 Iran Sanctions Act allows the US government to ban imports from any non-American company that invests more than USD 20 million a year in the Iranian oil and natural gas sector.

Nuland said the US was “supporting large-scale energy projects in Pakistan that will add some 900 megawatts to the power grid by the end of 2013.”

The threats came on the same day as the inauguration of the final construction phase of the multi-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline, intended to carry natural gas from Iran to its eastern neighbor.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari attended the ceremony on the Iran-Pakistan border on Monday.

The pipeline is designed to help Pakistan overcome its growing energy needs at a time when the country of 180 million is grappling with serious energy shortages.

Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Javad Owji said on Monday that Pakistan has raised its demand for natural gas imports from Iran to 30 million cubic meters (mcm) per day from a previous 21.5 mcm.

Owji added that Iran has hitherto spent USD 2 billion to build the section of the pipeline that lies on the Iranian side of the border and that the Pakistani section would need USD 3 billion.

On March 2, Zardari said that Islamabad would not stop the pipeline project at any cost.

The Pakistani president stressed that his government would continue to pursue the construction of the gas pipeline despite threats and pressure from the US.

March 12, 2013 - Posted by | Economics, War Crimes | , , ,


  1. The stance of the government of Pakistan on the issue, widely projected in Pakistan’s print and electronic media lately, is equally strong and comprehensible. The president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, has categorically stated that no power in the world can halt the $ 7.5 billion project, dismissing mounting US opposition to the venture that will be formally inaugurated on March 11, 2013. During his recent interaction with a group of journalists in Lahore, the president emphatically said, “Nobody has the power to halt this project”. Pakistan, he said, is a sovereign and independent country that is acting in its national interest by going ahead with the IP gas pipeline project. When asked about the US’ opposition to the project, President Zardari said that Pakistan could make decisions independently and sign an agreement with any country to tackle its energy crisis. A very bold stance indeed, Mr president! Let us, for once, in the larger national interest stick to the stance we have taken on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.


    Comment by Safdar | March 13, 2013

  2. Just as Pakistan has followed its national interest in spite of growing US and UN sanction threats, it ability to see the pipeline project completed will depend largely on the same spirit. US proposals on energy projects to tide over Pakistan’s energy needs have been insufficient and lacked clarity in terms of tangible projects. Even otherwise, the energy requirement Pakistan faces is much greater and urgent. The US proposed projects so far extended fall short of both these requirements. However, there are many cases where sanctions have not been applied by the US that provide room for waiver Pakistan could get on transporting gas from Iran. It is indeed a bold step taken by President Asif Ali Zardari that is commendable. This project will help Pakistan to meet its more than half energy requirement. Asif Ali Zardari would be ever remembered for this great service to nation.


    Comment by Raheel | March 14, 2013

  3. Can a country that is half way across the globe and wilting under its standards for economic growth, impede the progress of another nation in its economic progress with its next door neighbor?


    Comment by Ribeekah | March 18, 2013

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