Pakistan Urges US For Iran Gas Pipeline Waiver, Calls Project ‘Need Of The Hour’

Pakistan’s Petroleum Minister Musadik Malik emphasized his country’s urgent need for a US sanctions waiver regarding the gas pipeline from Iran, emphasizing that the project is not merely an expression of desire but “the need of the hour.” 

Malik highlighted the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline, known as the Peace Pipeline, as a long-term project between Tehran and Islamabad that has encountered delays and funding issues due to US sanctions for several years.

“We are earnestly striving to advance this project and we have conveyed this commitment to our Iranian brothers,” Malik told Geo News television channel.

He emphasized Pakistan’s efforts to secure exemptions from US sanctions, citing examples of other countries, such as Iraq, Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan benefiting that have benefited such waivers for similar projects with Iran.

Malik reassured Iran of Pakistan’s commitment to the gas project and its support for investment in it. “Islamabad’s position is clear, and we do not just express our desire for the gas transfer from Iran, but rather we need this project,” Malik stated.

Speaking to congressmen during a congressional hearing in Washington last Wednesday, the US assistant secretary of State for South and Central Asia vividly stated that the United States opposes the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project and is exerting maximum efforts to prevent its construction.

Warning of potential sanctions for Islamabad for doing business with Tehran, Donald Lu claimed that the project was not in the interest of Pakistan as international companies would not invest in it.

Earlier this month, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch emphasized that since the pipeline is within Pakistan’s territory, “We do not believe there is room for any objections by any third party.”

In February, Pakistan approved the construction of an 80-kilometer pipeline from the Pak-Iran border to Gwadar, marking a significant step in advancing the joint gas project with Iran. The project, launched in 2013, faced delays due to international sanctions targeting Iran, which has already completed its part of the pipeline.

Iran has invested $2 billion in the pipeline on its side of the border, and Pakistan could face an $18-billion fine if it terminates the agreement. The two countries signed a five-year trade plan in August 2023, setting a bilateral trade target at $5 billion.