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US Considers Sanctions Against Pakistan for Iran Pipeline

US Considers Sanctions Against Pakistan for Iran Pipelinei
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April 02, 2013 10:57 AM
The United States says Pakistan may face economic sanctions over a gas pipeline project with Iran. As VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, the $7-billion project is meant to help reduce Pakistan's crushing energy deficit.
The United States says Pakistan may face economic sanctions over a gas pipeline project with Iran. The $7 billion project is meant to help reduce Pakistan's crushing energy deficit.

After nearly 20 years, there is considerable progress on the Iran-to-Pakistan "peace pipeline," with Iranian contractors starting work on Pakistani sections of the project, having finished nearly 900 kilometers of pipeline in Iran.

That is of concern to the United States, which is backing international sanctions against Iranian energy exports because of its nuclear program.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the gas pipeline has nothing to do with the nuclear program.

"Foreign elements who are against the progress of Pakistan and Iran have found the excuse of our nuclear program.  The gas pipeline has no connection whatsoever with the nuclear case," he said. "With natural gas you cannot make atomic bombs."

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says the pipeline is about economic survival. "We've got to be economically sound, and therefore this pipeline is a life pipeline as far as Pakistan is concerned," he added.

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American University professor Akbar Ahmed says Pakistani energy demands outweigh U.S. opposition.

"It's in the interests of the Pakistani government to have access to energy and Iran is promising that through this gas pipeline," Ahmed said.  "At the same time the United States is doing everything to block this."

"We have serious concerns if this project actually goes forward that the Iran Sanctions Act would be triggered. We’ve been straight-up with the Pakistanis about these concerns," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

Other countries have gotten waivers from the Iran sanctions.  Pakistan thinks this pipeline should get a waiver too.

"I don't see why we cannot engage with the world and make sure that the world understands our point of view, and Pakistan also gets a waiver for this project," Zardari explained.

The Obama administration says there is no comparison.

"In the case of Japan, they’ve been making a steady decline, as have other countries that we have waived sanctions on. This pipeline project - if, as I said - if it actually goes forward - we’ve seen that promise many times - would take Pakistan in the wrong direction," Nuland stated.

Professor Ahmed says Tehran hopes that the U.S.-led sanctions will push Pakistan into a closer alliance with Iran.

"I don't think the United States should be pushing Pakistan to the point that it's at the brink," Ahmed said. "It's already at the brink in terms of the law-and-order breakdown in Pakistan, in terms of the economic crisis, in terms of really the sense of crisis that now envelopes Pakistan and the awareness in Pakistan that America is at the root cause of most of its problems."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had hoped to go to Islamabad after his surprise trip to Kabul last week - and the pipeline issue was expected to come up.   But U.S. officials decided against the trip - given the political uncertainty in Pakistan ahead of upcoming elections.

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by: usor from: Europe
April 04, 2013 5:43 AM
The world has a huge problem - the USA. They are the most Godless and un-Christian nation in the world today when measured behaviourly.

by: ghouri from: Berlin
April 03, 2013 9:20 AM
This is necessary for our exsistance as without gas whole industry will be destroyed. We have to build the pipe line and I will suggest go on pipe line and it matters nothing to stop economic aid i.e. loans.
We have to learn independent forign policy as americans are no more reliable partners.

by: Asad Khan from: Hyderabad
April 03, 2013 4:46 AM
Iran is selling gas to Turkey (Nato), Azerbaijan (diplomatic relation with Israel) and a fair amount of oil to Japan (staunchest ally of USA) and host of other US friendly countries. If, these countries are not sanctioned under Iran-Libya Sanction Act or whatever, then sanctioning Pakistan just to satisfy the ego of being ‘Tough’ on Iran is ridiculous.

Pakistan has been the victim of unjust US sanctions which serves nothing but put Pakistan on self-reliance. The current US administration, at least, on this pipeline issue must act rationally and with consideration with Pakistan, any penalizing or unfair sanctioning lowers the PAK-US relationship. Hope sense prevails.

by: MUSTAFA from: PAKISTAN
April 02, 2013 11:59 PM
Due to shortage of energy we have LOAD shedding up to 12 hours during summer. So just imagine our daily problems due to shortage of energy. Even there is shortage in Industry which will stop development in economic secter. I suggest STRONGLY that USA must submit a alternate solution of this problem and make sure that all aids must reach to the Bottom line. Because our politicians are so Hungry that first of all they will fullfil their Needs and if any thing left that will be for poor people.

by: Sanjay Bharat Sharma from: India
April 02, 2013 7:42 PM
to all the Muslims in India... listen... Hindus LOVE Israel!!! if you find it unacceptable please move to Pakistan!!!
In Response

by: rashid zaidi from: USA
April 03, 2013 2:12 PM
That is an idiotic response,Muslims and others are an integral part of the sub continent. Some chose to create a separate state as they were not treated well in India. Muslims have a great contributions in the greatness of India you cannot discount that. Open your mind to the world there is lots of goodness around.
In Response

by: akram from: uk
April 03, 2013 4:16 AM
why to move pakistan? just wait we will ask our own home land in india
In Response

by: Ravi from: Chandigarh
April 03, 2013 1:19 AM
SHarmaji all Hindus do not think like you.... Only the narrow minded wimpy ones do.

by: George from: USA
April 02, 2013 2:14 PM
The idea of sanctioning Pakistan for buying gas from Iran is just childish. The U.S. foreign policy belongs to a bygone colonial era.

It is not the business of any other country what trade exists between Iran and Pakistan which are two independent countries. At this rate, the U.S. will become irrelevant in the world scene. Iran has trade with most of the world. It even sells oil to Europe. The idea that Iran is isolated is pure fiction.

by: Shahg from: Pakistan
April 02, 2013 11:14 AM
It's sad that yet again the US us eady to sacrifice a major Muslim country for the sake of Israels interests. Does it make sense to create a huge problem in Pakistan if it collapses because you want to make Israel safe? How does that make anyone safe? We should appreciate the Pakistani's for holding it all together despite the natural disasters, the Taliban insurgency, the two enemies on either side, the interference by India in aiding rebel groups inside Pakistan, the crushing energy defeciet, this nation wants to rise, and ironically it is the US standing in their way, ok so if the US does not want Pakistan to get gas from Iran, then the fair thing would be to offer it alternatives, but the US is building 10 Nuclear power plants for India, it is refusing even one for Pakistan, its all because they are Muslims and nothing else and 200 Million Pakstanis will never forget this US treachery.
In Response

by: william fuller from: USA
April 03, 2013 7:45 PM
Shahg is correct on all points. The present American congress is the most corrupt, cowardly, and self-serving in all of U.S. history.
Our congress, and Obama administration, has made a decision to put Israeli interests ahead of U.S. interests. Or human interests in general.

by: roberthaggerty from: NYC
April 02, 2013 8:55 AM
How foolish to even consider. Our Iran obsession will be our undoing. The Pakistanis will retaliate by closing our acess to Afghanistan which will leave us completely dependent on Russia to re-supply the troops. We can also forget about them ever taking any significant steps to control the Taliban in both Pakistan itself and Afghanistan.The money we give them will not be enough to prevent this from happening. Any Pakistani government that bows to US pressure on this issue would be overthrown in a matter of days.
In Response

by: rashid from: CA,USA
April 03, 2013 2:43 PM
I agree with you, our failed policies have made Pakistan and that region chaotic and lawless. The effects of the Soviet Afghan war and our untimely exit from there in 1989 without gauging the long term ramifications of 40,000 armed men on the loose there. This has resulted in hundreds of billion spent, thousands of lives lost and no end in sight. Pakistan is taking it's first steps towards elected governance and yet we by not letting them have energy will sabotage the very process we try to encourage, Democracy!

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