Tehran, Iran (4E) – Defying United States’ opposition, Pakistan on Wednesday signeds multibillion-dollar Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline deal by awarding the contract of building its portion to an Iranian firm Tadbir Energy.
The construction of the pipeline will begin on March 4 on the Pak-Iran border.
The agreement was signed during Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari’s long-delayed visit to Iran.
“I believe that building this project is very beneficial for both sides and we support all the work carried out so far,” Zardari said.
Iran was also determined to go ahead with $7.5 billion gas pipeline project with Pakistan. During his meeting with visiting Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the project must go on irrespective of U.S.’ opposition.
“The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline is an important example of Tehran-Islamabad cooperation, and despite hostilities towards the expansion of ties we must overcome this opposition decisively,” Khamenei told Asif Ali Zardari.
Khamenei further said that Pakistan has every right to access safe energy source. He added that since Iran is the only nation in the region with safe energy resources and is also ready to provide it – Pakistan should not miss the opportunity.
Pakistan’s difficulty in finding funds as well as Washington’s fierce opposition have long delayed the gas pipeline project.
Last year, Pakistani media reported that their president would visit Iran in December to sign the agreement. However, the visit was delayed.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Zardari, “Building the gas pipeline between Iran and Pakistan is a great and important event, and it serves the two nations’ interests,” the president’s office reported.