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India quits IPI pipeline deal: Pakistan envoy

TEHRAN, Sept. 6 (Mehr News Agency) - India definitely quitted IPI gas pipeline deal, Pakistan's ambassador to Iran said here on Sunday. The Mehr News Agency also quoted Muhammad Bux Abbasi as saying that, "Pakistan plans to increase its crude oil import from Iran."

This is while SHANA new agency quoted some unnamed Iranian officials that India has not yet officially declared its intention.

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 to Pakistan, Press TV reported.

According to the deal, Iran will initially transfer 30 million cubic meters of gas per day to Pakistan, but will eventually increase the transfer to 60 million cubic meters per day.

Iran, Pakistan, and India conceptualized a gas pipeline project in 1990s, 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 had not participated in the last several rounds of talks, but Iran has repeatedly encouraged India to rejoin the process.

The IPI gas pipeline is a proposed 2,775-kilometer pipeline to deliver natural gas from Iran to 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.

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 from Washington to abandon the deal.

... Payvand News - 09/06/09 ... --

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