Iran still "hopeful" about implementation of gas project with Pakistan: official

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TEHRAN, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Iranian energy officials are still hopeful about the implementation of a long-delayed gas project with Pakistan, an Iranian energy official was quoted as saying by Eghtesad online news website on Wednesday.

Amir Hossein Zamaninia, Iranian deputy petroleum minister for international affairs, said that the new government in Pakistan has demonstrated political will to broaden economic ties with Iran and is following up on Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project.

"Pakistan has set up two committees ... to facilitate the process of gas import from Iran," Zamaninia said.

Oil ministers of the two countries are expected to discuss legal issues pertaining to the topic in February, he said.

Islamabad says the venture cannot be completed due to the mounting Washington pressures against Tehran and its energy partners.

Earlier, Iran's Minister of Petroleum Bijan Namdar Zangeneh said Pakistan was not cooperating on the construction of a much-delayed pipeline to pump natural gas from Iran.

"Pakistan has been falling short and is not cooperating on the construction of the pipeline," Zangeneh said in January 2018.

"It is likely that the United States and Saudi Arabia have been doing some sort of sabotage," the minister said.

The gas project, dubbed the "peace pipeline," was initially designed to pass through Pakistan into India, but New Delhi quit the project in 2009.

The seven-billion U.S. dollar project was conceived in the 1990s to connect Iran's giant South Pars gas field to the subcontinent.

Tehran has completed work on its side of the pipeline up to the border of Pakistan and is ready to deliver the gas, but Islamabad has yet to start construction of the line on its territory.

In 2016, Pakistan signed a deal with Qatar to buy liquefied natural gas from the Arab state for 15 years, casting further doubt on its intention to complete the Iran-Pakistan pipeline project. Enditem

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