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Iran, Pakistan to finalize gas deal technical framework
Iranian and Pakistani experts is going to start a five-day round of talks in Islamabad today to settle technical terms of the gas transfer deal to Pakistan.
The Mehr News Agency quoted Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, the Iranian oil minister''s special representative to the pipeline talks, as saying, “The two sides reached final agreement on the gas transfer deal in May and consented to finalize the related technical framework in three months thereafter."
"Based on the agreement, the Iranian side should begin pumping natural gas into the pipeline four and a half year after signing the contract.”
The Iranian official also confirmed that the two sides along with Russian Gazprom Company will come together in Tehran to negotiate on construction of the pipeline.
"The Pakistani side announced its readiness to participate in the trilateral meeting," Ghanimifard said.
Ghanimifard had previously emphasized that India still has an option to join the project, although the country has so far not been included in the gas pipeline project.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari inked a $7.5 billion agreement in Tehran on May 23, finalizing the deal to transfer gas from Iran toPakistan, Press TV reported.
According to the deal, Iran will initially transfer 30 million cubic meters of gas per day toPakistan, but will eventually increase the gas transfer to 60 million cubic meters per day.
Iran, Pakistan, and India conceptualized a gas pipeline project in 1990, dubbed as the IPI - or peace – pipeline to help boost peace and security in the region.
Negotiations over the project were initiated in 1994 between the three countries but there were obstacles to closing the three-way deal due to tension between India and Pakistan, according to IRNA.
India has not participated in the last several rounds of talks, but Iran has encouraged Indiato rejoin the process.
The IPI gas pipeline is a proposed 2,775-kilometer pipeline to deliver natural gas from Iranto Pakistan and India. 
The project is expected to greatly benefit India and Pakistan, which do not have sufficient natural gas to meet their rapidly increasing domestic demand for energy.
Pakistan -- facing an energy crisis -- plans to generate 4,600 megawatts of electricity with Iranian natural gas.
While Pakistan has been facing an electricity shortfall of more than 3,000 megawatts leading to frequent and long blackouts in the country, it has been under pressure fromWashington to abandon the deal.
  Parliament should nod gas deal before Sep. 5: Aasim Hussain
Aasim Hussain former advisor to Pakistani Prime Minister on Petroleum has urged government to present Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project in the parliament for final approval soon, otherwise Pakistan may stand deprived of this project after September 5 in terms of gas sale, purchase accord.
According to Online Sunday, Former petroleum advisor believes that Pak-Iran gas pipeline project was of vital importance to meet the energy requirements of Pakistan.
“Pakistan could save 5 million dollars on daily basis in the event of completion of this project. However the project could be shelved for ever if Pakistan and Iran failed to seek final approval from their respective parliaments in this respect till September 5,” he cautioned.
He pointed out certain elements were opposing Pak-Iran gas pipeline project but government would have to materialize this project in the supreme national interest at every cost.
Aug 11, 2009 14:35
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