Islamabad (Agencies): Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, announced the country’s readiness to assist in completing a long-pending multibillion-dollar gas pipeline project to export natural gas to Pakistan. The announcement came after delegation-level talks between Iranian and Pakistani officials in Islamabad.

The nearly 2,700-kilometer gas pipeline is vital for Pakistan, an energy-deficient country, to meet its energy demands. Tehran claims to have completed its part of the pipeline, while Pakistan’s portion of the project remains pending. The agreement signed between the two nations a decade ago requires Pakistan to complete its share by March 2024 or face potential financial penalties of $18 billion to Iran.

Pakistan has faced obstacles in fulfilling its commitment due to the sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States over its nuclear program. To address these issues, Pakistani officials had previously sought assistance from the U.S. administration or permission to proceed with the pipeline. However, Washington is still reviewing the request.

During the recent talks, both sides emphasized the project’s importance and explored ways to overcome banking and financial hurdles between the two countries. However, there was no mention of whether Iran would demand penalties in case of project delays.

The Iranian Foreign Minister underscored the significance of completing the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, highlighting the mutual benefits for both nations. Additionally, the two countries agreed to double their annual bilateral trade volume to $5 billion and aim to establish more border marketplaces to enhance business activity.

Despite lingering security concerns along their shared border, Iran and Pakistan expressed their determination to transform the borders into points of economic interaction and trade, fostering greater cooperation and mutual interest.

The completion of the gas pipeline would not only bolster Pakistan’s energy security but also strengthen the longstanding friendship between the two neighboring countries.

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