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Gilani: Pakistan 'Not Bound' by US Sanctions on Iran

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani says his country is not bound by U.S. sanctions on Iran, signaling Pakistan will move ahead with a deal to import natural gas from the Mideast country.

Mr. Gilani backtracked on comments he made a day earlier, when he said Pakistan will abide by any sanctions Washington imposes related to Iran's nuclear program.

In Islamabad Tuesday, the Pakistani prime minister said his government would only consider sanctions imposed by the United Nations under international law.

Mr. Gilani's remarks come after the U.S. special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, warned Pakistan not to "overcommit" to a $7.5 billion deal to build a pipeline connecting Iran's South Pars gas field to Pakistan's Baluchistan and Sindh provinces.

During a visit to Islamabad Sunday, Holbrooke said the U.S. Congress is finalizing a new set of sanctions against Iran that could affect the project.

The U.S. sanctions target insurance companies, oil firms and shipping lines linked to Tehran's nuclear or missile programs.

Pakistani officials say the planned pipeline will supply the country with about 21 million cubic meters of gas each day by mid-2015. Pakistan is frequently hit by power shortages and is in critical need of new energy sources.

Meanwhile, Pakistani forces backed by fighter jets clashed with Taliban militants along the Afghan border on Tuesday, killing 43 militants and leaving several others wounded, including some troops.

Pakistan's army said the operations took place in the tribal district of Orakzai, where the military said it had successfully concluded military operations against Taliban fighters earlier this month.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.