New Delhi, Aug 9, IRNA-Hitting out at Washington after an American official's comments about the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline, Tehran on Tuesday said the United States should support such projects for the benefit of the international community instead of polluting political atmosphere.
Speaking at a business meeting organized by Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), here, US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher on Monday said Washington considers Iran to be "not a reliable partner" and India could tap Central Asia to meet the fuel needs of her growing economy, Asian Age reported here today.
The embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, here on Tuesday retaliated by putting out a statement that read: "The interests of the nations of the region require support of all global players to the projects which may bring about prosperity and development and would also help in reducing tension and terrorism.
"It would be better to consider the economic, political and social benefits of such big regional and trans-regional projects for the the international community, instead of polluting political atmosphere, encouraging arms race and imposing political pressure on responsible countries."
The statement also said, "It should be understood that independent countries have rights and capacity to take decision on the basis of their national interests.
The US is backing the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline project and its possible extension to India as an alternative to the India-Pakistan-Iran pipeline.
The US is opposed to the over dlrs 7 billion 2,100-kilometer pipeline project as revenues from gas sales would help Tehran further its nuclear program, which Washington alleges is for military purpose.
Tehran, however, denies the allegation. "Our experience with Iran makes us realize that it is not a reliable partner," Boucher said.
"We think by opening up Afghanistan and making it a place for transit, we have made a positive change," he added.
Boucher, however, said it was for India to decide whether to go ahead with the pipeline project based on commercial viability and its own experience of working with Tehran.
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