US cautions Pakistan over pipeline deal with Iran
The US special envoy to Pakistan said on Sunday he had warned Islamabad against signing a deal with Iran on a gas pipeline, saying the US was preparing laws that could affect the project.
Islamabad: The US special envoy to Pakistan said on Sunday he had warned Islamabad against signing a deal with Iran on a gas pipeline, saying the US was preparing laws that could affect the project.
"We cautioned the Pakistanis not to over-commit themselves until we know the legislation," Richard Holbrooke, US President Barack Obama`s special envoy to Afghanistan as well as Pakistan, told reporters.
"Pakistan has an obvious major energy problem. We are very sympathetic to it. In regard to the specific project, legislation is now being prepared which may apply to this project," said Holbrooke.
He declined to give details, saying he was not involved in drawing up the legislation, but cautioned that it could be "comprehensive."
"This can range from legislation which could be so comprehensive that something like this could create a major problem for any company or country," Holbrooke said.
Iran and Pakistan last week formally signed an export deal which commits Iran to selling natural gas to its eastern neighbour from 2014.
Iran has already constructed 907 kilometres of the pipeline between Asalooyeh, in southern Iran, and Iranshahr, which will carry natural gas from Iran`s giant South Pars field.
The pipeline was originally planned to connect Iran, Pakistan and India, but the latter pulled out of the project last year.
Pakistan plans to use the gas purchased from Iran for its power sector.
The Obama administration on Wednesday added Iranian individuals and firms to a blacklist as part of US and European efforts to tighten the screws on Iran a week after UN approved sanctions against its nuclear programme.
The new US sanctions target insurance companies, oil firms and shipping lines linked to Iran`s nuclear or missile programmes as well as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Iran`s defence minister Ahmad Vahidi.
The United States has long offered Iran trade and other incentives in exchange for halting its uranium enrichment programme, which western powers fear masks a drive to build a nuclear bomb.