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India likely to sign IPI pipeline deal

Press TV - India says it has resolved most of its differences with Iran over the IPI 'peace' pipeline and that both sides may sign a deal within 5 weeks.

In an interview with NDTV, Indian Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said he held an unscheduled meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Gholam-Hossein Nozari, on the sidelines of Sunday's oil summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and that their talks yielded 'positive results' in advancing the long-awaited IPI gas pipeline deal.

The 2,775-kilometer gas pipeline will have the capacity to transfer 2.46 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year from Iran's South Pars field to India via Pakistan.

Deora also said the US was no longer insisting that India pull out of the ambitious gas project.

The US had been pressuring India not to sign any gas transfer agreement with the Islamic Republic as part of measures to compel Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program.

"We have longstanding points on doing business with Iran. Our stance is that we are concerned about the project," a US State Department official told Pakistan's in May when asked to explain Washington's position on the pipeline.

India's Left-wing political factions had criticized the Indian government for jeopardizing its relations with Iran by delaying the signing of the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline but welcomed Petroleum Minister Deora's announcement in Jeddah, calling it a positive step.

Related News: Pipeline deal 'soon', says India - BBC

... Payvand News - 06/23/08 ... --

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