Gas pipeline deal: Iran unreliable partner, says US ambassador

Munter was addressing students at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Ambassador’s Forum. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LAHORE: United States (US) Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter said on Friday that Iran was an “unreliable partner” and that Pakistan should not be in a gas pipeline deal with the country.

Addressing students at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Ambassador’s Forum, Munter said that making a deal with Iran would be a bad idea and Pakistan should work with Turkmenistan instead. He added that a strong Pakistan was in the interest of the US.

He said that US assistance to Pakistan included civilian and military, and that civilian assistance had not been stopped even in the worst of times.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the forum, Munter said that the Memogate scandal was Pakistan’s internal issue and that the US will help in the investigation if Pakistan seeks it.

It had earlier been reported that Turkmenistan had agreed with Pakistan on the price of gas it plans to send via an ambitious pipeline from its prospective natural gas fields through Afghanistan.

Turkmenistan, which sits on the world’s fourth-largest natural gas reserves, wants to build the trans-Afghan pipeline as part of its plans to diversify sales from Soviet-era master Russia to energy-hungry markets in Asia and Europe.

It aims to supply natural gas from its South Iolotan field, the world’s second-largest, to Pakistan and India. The idea of the pipeline, known as TAPI, was first raised in the mid-1990s, but construction has yet to begin.

The proposed 1,700-km pipeline could carry 1 trillion cubic metres of Turkmen gas over a 30-year period, which would work out at 33 billion cubic metres a year.


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