United States says that Pak-Iran gas pipeline will violate U.S sanctions against Iran

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 2:49:41 by

The United States said on Tuesday that a gas pipeline project Pakistan was negotiating with Iran could violate US restrictions on major financial deals with Tehran and Washington was already discussing this issue with Islamabad.

At a briefing at the State Department, spokesperson Victoria Nuland also said that a bill President Barack Obama signed into law on Saturday would not lead to an automatic suspension of US aid to Pakistan.

At a Dec 27 public rally in Larkana, President Asif Ali Zardari had said that Pakistan would go ahead with the gas pipeline agreement with Iran despite US reservations.

But the law President Obama signed on Saturday forbids dealing with central Iranian banks. Experts say that this restriction could make it difficult for Pakistan to implement the project.

When the question was raised at the State Department briefing, Ms Nuland said it was a cause of concern for the US as well.

“We’ve made absolutely clear over many months now our concern about this deal and we will continue to talk to Pakistan about it. Were it to go forward, how it might be impacted — again, this is the kind of conversation that we
have to have with Pakistan and that we’re starting to have now,” she said.

Also, Ms Nuland indirectly confirmed a recent statement by a Pakistani official that Pakistan had not received anything from the coalition support fund since June 2010 and only $400 million from the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill were
received during 2011.

“You do know that some of the money on the military-to-military side, it was difficult to spend because some of those programmes had been suspended and because of the state of the relationship in counter-terrorism cooperation,”
she said.

When a reporter reminded her that new congressional restrictions — included in the law President Obama signed during the weekend — could also adversely affect the US-Pakistan relationship, Ms Nuland said: “These are certification
requirements in the bill. So obviously, we’re going to have to certify that cooperation is going well in order to release money. So it’s essentially a continuation of some of the issues that we’ve had before.”

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