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Iran, Pakistan launch gas pipeline project

Iran, Pakistan launch gas pipeline projectTehran, March 12 - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari inaugurated Monday a gas pipeline project which will link Iran's gas pipeline to that of Pakistan.

During the event, held in Iran's Chabahar city and attended by ministers and senior officials from Iran and Pakistan, Ahmadinejad said the West "has no right to obstruct" Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project that has nothing to do with Iran's nuclear issue, Xinhua reported.

Iran has constructed 900 km of the 1,600-km pipeline on its soil. Both Iranian and Pakistani firms have undertaken the construction of the remaining part in Pakistan. When the project is completed by mid-2014, as scheduled, Iran will export 21.5 million cubic metres of natural gas to Pakistan on daily basis.

Earlier this month, Zardari said that his energy-starved country would pursue the multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline project with Iran despite strong US opposition.

Zardari's statement came following the US State Department's advise saying Pakistan to better look for other energy options instead of the Iran gas project.

On Thursday, Pakistani foreign ministry spokesperson had said Islamabad was aware of some western concerns but "we expect and hope that all our friends including the US would show more understanding on the issue."

"We are very clear about this project. It is in our national interest to go ahead with this project," he said, adding that being an energy deficient country, Pakistan is suffering both economically and socially. (IANS)