Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline worries U.S.

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Karachi, Pakistan (4E) – U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson on Monday aired concern over Islamabad’s push for a gas pipeline project with Iran.

Olson made the comment to the media during his visit to the mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of the Pakistani nation, in Karachi.

The ambassador suggested energy cooperation between the U.S. and Pakistan to solve the energy shortage of the latter.

The comment came a month after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari urged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speed up the construction of the $250 million Iran-Pak gas pipeline that will transmit millions of cubic feet of gas to Pakistan. The two leaders met in Baku, Azerbaijan on the sideline of the Economic Cooperation Organisation summit.

The U.S. has imposed economic sanctions on Iran in a bid to stop its nuclear program believed intended to build a weapon of mass destruction. Among the sanction is a ban on importation of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products. The Iran-Pak gas pipeline is seen to circumvent the sanction.

Meanwhile, in Turkey, local police discovered a nearly 2-mile pipeline that runs from in the eastern province of Hakkari to Iran. The pipeline is used for smuggling Iranian crude oil into Turkey as a small refinery. five storage tanks, a power generator and a two-room barracks were also found in the province’s Semdinli district. Each tank has a capacity of 1,321 gallons.

The police dismantled the facility and seized materials and gas found in the site. An investigation was also launched to find out the oil smugglers who built the facility.

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