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Natural gas pipeline deal struck between Iran and Pakistan

Pipeline
The deal provides that Iran supply Pakistan  with  750m cubic feet of gas per day                    Photo: BBC

In reaction to the countries growing energy requirements that have caused severe electricity shortages, Pakistan has now signed a $7.6 billion natural gas pipeline deal with Iran.

The deal between the two countries was reached in Turkey on Tuesday.  Initially, the pipeline was intended to supply natural gas to India, but officials in Delhi withdrew from negotiations over the deal last year.

Pakistani Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Naveed Qmar described the signing of the deal as a "milestone towards meeting energy needs of the country".

After being delayed, the deal finally went through as Pakistani officials finally secured the funding.  The pipeline will connect Iran's South Fars gas field with Pakistan's Balochistan and Sindh provinces.

According to the details of the deal, by 2015 Iran will provide 750m cubic feet of gas per day to Pakistan.  And each country is responsible for building the portion of the pipeline that runs through its territory.

Labeled the "peace pipeline," the project was first proposed in the 1990's and originally would have extended from Pakistan to India.

Reports asserted that Delhi pulled out of the deal due to its distrust of Pakistan, with which it has fought three wars since independence in 1947.  To meet its ever increasing energy demands, India has turned to investing in civilian nuclear reactors, as well as a landmark civilian nuclear energy deal with the US it signed in 2008.

Pakistan has argued that the US should also make such a deal with them as well, though to this point US officials have shown very little interest, no doubt due to the fear that Pakistan may be unable to protect such material from getting into the hands of terrorists.

Analysts say that the US may be hostile to the agreement due to its conflict with Iran over the countries alleged nuclear weapons program, which Tehran has vehemently denied.

What is astounding here is the inability of the US, the most powerful country in the world, to contain and pressure Iran.  Tehran has been busy making deals with Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Pakistan, all the while blatantly refusing to comply with international atomic standards.

The United States must indeed find a way to deal with Iran, for the small Middle Eastern country is making a mockery of the US and possibly starting a precedent that will haunt the West for sometime to come.

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