[Marxism] US Sabotages $4 Billion Iran-To-India Gas Pipeline

davidquarter at sympatico.ca davidquarter at sympatico.ca
Sat Mar 19 14:31:30 MST 2005


On 19 Mar 2005 at 6:14, Rick Rozoff wrote:


http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-03/19/content_2718213.htm


Xinhua News Agency
March 19, 2005



Fate of US$4b Iran-Pak-India gas pipeline hangs in
doubt 
By Rong Shoujun      


-"We've voiced our concerns to the Indian Government
about the gas pipeline with Iran. It's not only with
India. We've similarly talked to Japan about a gas
project that they would have because the United States
has sanctions on Iran for good reasons," Rice said. 
Under a US law or the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of
1996, George Bush can penalize any foreign firm that
invests more than 20 million dollars in the energy
sectors of either country. 
-"We have traditional good relations with Iran. We
expect Iran will fulfill all of its obligations with
regard to the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty),"
Indian External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh said
after meeting Rice in New Delhi. 
-Iran contains an estimated 286.6 trillion cubic meter
in provennatural gas reserves - the world's second
largest and surpassed only by those found in Russia.
-"If they (the Americans) can not help in increase of
regional cooperation and stability, they should at
least avoid creating difficulties. India, Iran and
Pakistan are independent countries and take their own
decisions."


ISLAMABAD - The fate of the 4 billion US dollars
trans-Pakistan gas pipeline, to energize India's power
hungry industrial sector with Iranian gas, seems to
hang in balance after increasing US pressure on the
participating countries to abandon the project. 

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in her talks
with the Pakistani and Indian leaders during her visit
early this week to the Asian countries did not mince
words about the US concerns over the gas pipeline
project. 

"We've voiced our concerns to the Indian Government
about the gas pipeline with Iran. It's not only with
India. We've similarly talked to Japan about a gas
project that they would have because the United States
has sanctions on Iran for good reasons," Rice said. 

Under a US law or the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of
1996, George Bush can penalize any foreign firm that
invests more than 20 million dollars in the energy
sectors of either country. 

The Untied States has been exerting increasing
pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear program, which
it says was intended to build weapons rather for
peaceful uses. 

Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz who had been
touting the project as a peace-pipeline put the issue
on the top of his agenda during a recent visit to
Iran. 

After his talks with the Iranian leadership, it was
announced that petroleum ministers of Pakistan, Iran
and India would meet in Islamabad in the third week of
March to discuss "feasibility and technical" details,
but the proposed meeting has now been postponed. 

While there has been no cogent reason for the
postponement of the meeting, both Pakistan and India
deny any pressure to give up the project. 

"We have traditional good relations with Iran. We
expect Iran will fulfill all of its obligations with
regard to the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty),"
Indian External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh said
after meeting Rice in New Delhi. 

Pakistani Prime Minister Aziz also denied any pressure
on Islamabad to dump the deal. "We have no pressure,"
he said recently when asked about any such demands
from the United States. He rather hoped the final
decision would be made by the end of the year. 

But political analysts believed Washington would
continue to mount pressure on Pakistan and India
against the project. 

"I think the Americans are tightening the noose and
trying to make sure that Iran is not helped by India
or Pakistan in any way, because they know the Iranians
are desperate to get projects like the gas pipeline
through," Pakistani political commentator and
newspaper editor Najam Sethi said. 

Iran contains an estimated 286.6 trillion cubic meter
in provennatural gas reserves - the world's second
largest and surpassed only by those found in Russia. 

Indian Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar was the
first to disclose the increasing US pressure on India
after a meeting with the US envoy in New Delhi, David
Mulford, ahead of Rice's visit. 

"All of us have noted what the US concerns are but I
think they too are aware of our energy security
requirements," Aiyar said. 

The Iranians, already weary of Washington's negative
approach towards it, have reacted angrily to the US
intervention in the deal. 

"If they (the Americans) can not help in increase of
regional cooperation and stability, they should at
least avoid creating difficulties. India, Iran and
Pakistan are independent countries and take their own
decisions," said a statement issued after the
Singh-Mulford meeting. 

The 2,775 km pipeline proposed in 1996 never took off
mainly owing to shaky relations between the two rivals
India and Pakistan. 

India initially showed reluctance over the passage of
gas line through Pakistan, citing security reasons and
tying the project with the string of conditions that
include the Most Favored Nationstatus from Pakistan. 

But it finally indicated its willingness to join
unconditionally after Pakistan vowed to go ahead
alone. The pipeline if constructed could be
operational by 2009. 

Pakistan is eager for the project because it would
have access to the gas and earn an estimated 600
million dollars a year in transit fees. 

However apart from the US pressure, the project faces
other security risks. 

The recent spate of attacks on Pakistan's natural gas
installations and pipelines in southwestern
Balochistan province by insurgents remains a serious
threat. 

But the Pakistani leadership has time and again
reiterated to take all measures to safeguard its
national assets. "We have assured India a secure
energy corridor. This is a win-win proposition for
Iran, India and Pakistan," Prime Minister Aziz said. 
 







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