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Indo-Iran gas pipeline will go ahead despite U.S. objections: Indian FM

TEHRAN, March 26 (Mehr News Agency) - Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee signaled Monday that New Delhi intends to go ahead with a multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline from Iran via Pakistan despite objections from the United States.

"Talks on this pipeline are going on. When I was in Iran, I had categorically mentioned that we are interested in having this pipeline," Mukherjee said in an interview with the NDTV news network.

"Now negotiations are going on about the prices," said the minister as carried by AFP news agency. The Indian top diplomat made a two-day visit to Tehran last month.

When asked whether the deal is on despite what the U.S. says, the minister answered: "That is exactly the position."

Oil Minister Murli Deora also said last week that India was committed to the project.

The remarks come after a visit to India by U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, who has urged New Delhi to drop the plan.

Talks on the proposed 7.4-billion-dollar project began in 1994 but stalled due to tensions between rivals Pakistan and India but the discussions gathered momentum after the launch of a peace process between them in 2004.

India and Pakistan have said they want to go ahead with the 2,600- kilometer (1,600-mile) Iranian pipeline project as they need energy to fuel economic growth.

Iran plans to lay a pipeline from the giant South Pars gas field to carry 90 million standard cubic meters per day of gas.

... Payvand News - 3/26/07 ... --

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