Zardari due in Tehran in near future to sign pipeline deal

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President Asif Ali Zardari is scheduled to visit Iran in the near future to sign a contract on Tehran’s investment in a pipeline project which is due to take Iran’s rich gas reserves to energy-hungry Pakistan, Iranian media reported Saturday.
Earlier on Thursday, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar reiterated her country’s determination to push ahead with the building of the gas pipeline, adding that Zardari is scheduled to travel to Tehran in near future to discuss the finalization of the project.
Underscoring Pakistan’s daily-growing demand for Iran’s gas, she said the project would be pursued under any condition.
The agreement was to be inked between Tehran and Islamabad during the November visit to Pakistan by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the text of the contract was not ready and the endorsement ceremony was postponed, FARS news agency reported.
Pakistani Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Asim Hussain visited Tehran earlier this month to prepare the grounds for compiling the text of the contract and held meetings with several Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The Pakistani government has on many occasions reiterated its resolve to push ahead with the $1.5 billion Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project.
According to the project proposal, the pipeline will begin from Iran’s Assalouyeh Energy Zone in the south and stretch over 1,100 km through Iran. In Pakistan, it will pass through Baluchistan and Sindh but officials now say the route may be changed if China agrees to the project.