Will the “Peace Pipeline” affect neighborly relations between Iran and Pakistan?

islamabad– Iran has extended the deadline for the joint gas pipeline project, or better known as the “Peace Pipeline”, by 180 days to next September, The News International reported, citing Pakistani officials.

The Pakistani newspaper reported that if Tehran does not make any progress in completing the project, it may resort to international arbitration to impose a fine of $18 billion on Islamabad due to repeated delays in the construction of its part of the gas pipeline. .

According to these officials, Iran had offered to send its legal and technical team to Pakistan to work out a win-win strategy in an effort to complete the project and avoid arbitration.

The team was scheduled to arrive on January 21 to hold talks on implementing the project, but could not arrive due to recent tensions between the two countries and is scheduled to arrive in the second week of this month.

The Behbahan facility is capable of capturing all the gas associated with crude oil and preventing it from burning (Iranian Press)
In June 2011, Tehran announced the completion of its part of the joint gas pipeline project with Pakistan (Iranian press)

he stays in his place

The first discussions between Pakistan and Iran on the gas pipeline project began in 1994 and a preliminary agreement was signed between the two countries in 1995. Later, Iran proposed that the line reach India, and in 1999 it signed a preliminary agreement with New Delhi, calling it the Iran–Pakistan Gas Pipeline, and India withdrew from the project in 2009.

In 2010, the United States asked Pakistan to abandon the project in exchange for assistance in building a liquefied natural gas terminal and importing electricity from Tajikistan through Afghanistan.

Islamabad rejected the US proposal, and signed a final agreement with Tehran on the project at a meeting held in Ankara during March 2010. According to the agreement, each country was to build its share of the pipeline by the end of 2014.

In June 2011, Iran announced that it had completed its share of the project, while Pakistani finance announced in March 2012 that private investors had not shown sufficient interest.

It was agreed in 2013 that if Pakistan did not complete its part of the project by the end of 2014, it would have to pay a daily fine of $1 million to Iran until completion.

In March 2013, work on the construction of the Pakistani portion was officially launched by the presidents of both countries, and an Iranian company was scheduled to work on the Pakistani portion as well.

In February 2014, the then Pakistani Oil and Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi informed the Parliament that the gas pipeline project with Iran is no longer on the negotiating table due to sanctions imposed on Tehran.

There were hopes that the nuclear deal between Washington and Tehran could give Pakistan the freedom to implement the project, but Islamabad made no progress in this regard.

continuous adjournment

In February 2019, Iran sent its first notice to Pakistan to go to international arbitration for not expanding the pipeline into Pakistani territory within the stipulated period. In late 2022, Iran in its second notification asked Pakistan to build part of the gas pipeline project through its territory by March 2024 or be ready to pay a fine of $18 billion.

In November 2023, both countries decided to restart their cooperation on the project, and Pakistani media said the two countries were ready to begin formal talks in the coming weeks. This was a result of Pakistan's interim Energy Minister Muhammad Ali's recent visit to Tehran, where he said his country reaffirmed its commitment to the project and expressed the urgent need for energy security.

The latest notification sent by Iran to Pakistan is the third, and it threatens to go to the French capital, where the International Arbitration is based, an organization that does not recognize US sanctions on Iran.

Iran realizes that Pakistan has a very important role in providing access to major energy consumers (Shutterstock)

understanding, not stress

Syed Shabahat, an expert on international relations and conflicts, said that he believes both sides are the gentlest neighbors to each other compared to their relations with other neighboring countries, noting that both Iran and Pakistan are facing economic turmoil. -In a state of turmoil. Spread of terrorism.

Shobahat hopes – in an interview with Al Jazeera Net – that Iran will continue to push Pakistan in a positive manner without crossing any red lines, and that Pakistan will also hold meetings with regulatory and financial bodies to find a way to benefit. Will continue to try to organize. From the Iranian energy market.

He said Iran also realizes that Pakistan has a very important role in providing access to major energy consumers like India and China and hence Tehran would not want to further anger Islamabad.

On his part, political economy expert Osama Rizvi said it was related to recent developments between the two countries, and that it was especially important in the long-term cooperation between them.

Radwi said in an interview with Al Jazeera Net that he believes energy, especially pipelines, power transmission projects, etc., can provide a good basis for continuing good relations, and if the cause If used, they will realize that it is beneficial to cooperate rather than clash.

He said he does not believe Iran can afford it, given that it is the second most sanctioned country in the world, and oil prices are not high these days, and the cost of living is rising in both countries.

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