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Rice: US concerns on Iran-India gas pipeline 'well known'

New Delhi, March 16, IRNA-While addressing the domestic and international press in New Delhi this morning, visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that concerns of Washington over the pipeline between Iran and India are "well known".

She said on the broader question of India's energy need in the next decade, the US could also help through new and sophisticated technologies in this field.

K. Natwar Singh, India's Minister of External Affairs said discussions between Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer and his Iranian counterpart were progressing well.

"We have traditionally good relations with Iran and we expect Iran to fulfill all obligations under NPT," he said.

On Indo-Pak relations, Singh said ongoing dialogue was progressing "satisfactorily" while making clear that Islamabad must implement its assurance on stopping all cross-border terrorism against India.

India threatens to pull out of Iran-India gas project

New Delhi, March 16, IRNA-India today threatened to pull out of the proposed 4.16 billion dollar Iran-India pipeline project over price of natural gas saying Tehran has to price the fuel at rates affordable to industry in India.

"We will not buy gas from Iran if we cannot sell it in India....

If they say they have alternate markets in US, China and Japan (which are willing to pay higher price) then I might as well ask them to tap them," Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said at a book release function here.

Iran wants a price equivalent to that of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the natural gas it plans to sell to India by the pipeline which would pass through Pakistan.

LNG is costlier than domestically produced natural gas.

The Indian minister warned that euphoria on the pipeline diplomacy was over and said "the road ahead is rocky." "Our affordable price may be lower than available elsewhere but Iran has to be sensitive to our market," Aiyar stated.

International consultant BHP Billiton of Australia had pegged cost of Iranian gas through a pipeline at 2.40-2.49 dollars per mBtu.

... Payvand News - 3/16/05 ... --

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