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US not against Iran-India pipeline: Govt

July 27, 2005 01:37 IST

The government on Tuesday categorically said that the United States had not any objections on the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project with New Delhi.

"The question of the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline has not been officially raised by the US authorities," Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

Aiyar said during his visit in March 2005, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the media that the US had conveyed its concerns on the proposed gas pipeline cooperation between India and Iran.

"Later, US officials stated publicly that the US position on India's energy requirements was 'constructive.'

The US legal position on this issue flows from its Iran Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 that provides for the imposition of sanctions against any party that has made an investment of more than $40 million that directly and significantly contributes to the enhancement of Iran's ability to develop petroleum resources of Iran, he said.

Aiyar said India was engaged in separate bilateral discussions with Iran and Pakistan on the proposed pipeline project that is to feed growing energy needs of India and Pakistan.

"It is expected that by the end of the year, the three governments will be in a position to decide on the project structure and related technical, financial and legal aspects of the project," he said.

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