Two days after President Zardari skipped his Tehran visit to finalise Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, the US envoy to Islamabad says his country has deep concerns on the project.“We do have concerns about Iran’s potential development as a nuclear power and that we are not alone in that regard and that this is the strongly held consensus view of the international community,” said US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson on Monday.
During his visit at Quaid-e-Azam’s Mausoleum in Karachi, the ambassador also said that his country was ready to cooperate with Pakistan in the energy sector in order to curb the energy shortage faced by the country.Just a day before President Zardari’s making a dash for the UK, his spokesman Farhatullah Babar had confirmed to the Iranian news agency IRNA that he would stop over in Tehran for a day for talks on bilateral and regional issues, and it was almost certain that the two countries would sign a contract to finalise the vital gasline project.
The cancellation of the visit, political observers believe, was the result of US pressure on Pakistan for not going ahead with concluding such a lucrative deal for Iran. And there appears to be a lot of weight in this argument as Islamabad witnessed a flurry of activity by US diplomatic circles over last week.US opposition to this project, which would give cheap gas to energy-hungry Pakistan and funds to cash-strapped Iran, is no secret as it is doing all it can to isolate Tehran in the global village of nations.
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