Supreme Leader Blasts US Attempts to Sow Discord between Iran, Pakistan
(FNA)- Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei lambasted the US for its attempts to create rift between the Iranian and Pakistani nations, and stressed that the two countries' ties are not related to third parties.
"There are hands at work that intend to cause differences between the two friendly and intimate Iranian and Pakistani nations through different methods, including stirring insecurity at the lengthy common borders, but we shouldn’t allow the big opportunity existing for the expansion of the relations between the two countries to be lost," Ayatollah Khamenei said in a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Tehran on Monday.
He underlined the necessity for the further development of ties between the two countries, and laid special importance on the implementation of joint ventures, like the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, and expressed the hope that good measures would be adopted on this ground during Sharif's tenure.
The leader also laid emphasis on the independent nature of Tehran-Islamabad relations, and stressed that the two states shouldn’t wait for others' permission to enhance their ties. "The US whose maliciousness is clear to all is among the governments which is attempting to create rift between Iran and Pakistan," the leader said, cautioning that there are some other governments as well that are doing the same, and the two countries should take good care not to be trapped by such states.
The multi-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline has grown into a major issue in the two countries' economic relations. Under an agreement between Tehran and Islamabad, Pakistan was to due to receive 750 million cubic feet of gas per day (mcfd) from January 1, 2015. Later, the gas supply from Iran was to be increased to 1 billion cubic feet gas per day (bcfd). Now the import of gas under the IP project seems a non-starter. If Pakistan fails to meet its obligation, then after the deadline, it will have to pay to Iran the huge penalty of almost $200 million a month.
Iran has already built 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its own soil and is waiting for the 781-kilometer Pakistani side of the pipeline to be constructed.
The IP pipeline is designed to help Pakistan overcome its growing energy needs at a time when the country of over 180 million people is grappling with serious energy shortages but certain countries, specially the US, pressure Islamabad to abandon the project.
In relevant remarks on Saturday, former Iranian Envoy to Islamabad Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian said Islamabad has no substitute for the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline and it, thus, has no other option but to accomplish the project, given the energy crisis in the country.
"Owing to the grave conditions of energy (supply and demand) in Pakistan, some of the country's major cities spend half of the day without electricity, meaning that Pakistan's need to energy is real and inevitable," Taherian told FNA.
He underlined that Pakistan has no other choice, but to accomplish the IP gas pipeline since the country's future, progress and development all depend on energy and Iran's gas resources.
Noting that Pakistan has not fulfilled its undertakings based on its agreement with Iran to complete the IP gas pipeline project on its territory, Taherian cautioned that any delay in the execution of the project will incur a huge financial loss on Islamabad as it will have to pay much bigger sums for the same project in future.