Monday 21 June 2010

Pakistan to abide by US sanctions on Iran: PM

ISLAMABAD (AFP) — Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Monday said that his country would abide by US sanctions on Iran which could hit a 7.6-billion-dollar gas pipeline project.

"Pakistan as a member of the international community will follow any sanctions imposed by the US," Gilani told reporters in southern Sindh province in response to a question.

US special envoy to Pakistan Richard Holbrooke Sunday said he had warned Islamabad against signing a deal with Iran on the gas pipeline, saying the US was preparing laws that could affect the project.

Iran and Pakistan last week formally signed an export deal which commits Tehran to selling natural gas to its eastern neighbour from 2014.

Iran has already constructed 907 kilometres (564 miles) of the pipeline between Asalooyeh, in southern Iran, and Iranshahr, which will carry natural gas from Iran's giant South Pars field.

The pipeline was originally planned to connect Iran, Pakistan and India, but the latter pulled out of the project last year.

Pakistan plans to use the gas purchased from Iran for its power sector.

The Obama administration last week added Iranian individuals and firms to a blacklist as part of US and European efforts to tighten the screws on Iran a week after UN approved sanctions against its nuclear programme.

The new US sanctions target insurance companies, oil firms and shipping lines linked to Iran's nuclear or missile programmes as well as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Iran's defence minister Ahmad Vahidi.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also said on Sunday that if the project came under sanctions then Pakistan "will not violate the international law."

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