Tehran: Iran will sign a deal with Pakistan to sell gas to the neighbouring country, even if India, a third party to the deal, walked out, student news agency ISNA reported Iran’s oil minister as saying on Monday.
India stayed away from talks in Tehran on a proposed $7 billion (Rs34,160 crore) pipeline in September, saying it wanted to agree transit costs through Pakistan on a bilateral basis first.
Marching on: Iran’s oil minister Gholamhossein Nozari. Zohra Bensemra / Reuters
Iran oil minister Gholamhossein Nozari said a delegation from Pakistan had arrived in Tehran for two days.
“Iran will sign a deal with Pakistan, if India does not take part in the project,” ISNA quoted Nozari as saying.
In July, Iran said India and Pakistan had accepted Iran’s demand for gas price reviews based on market changes, denying reports by some Indian newspapers that the pipeline talks had failed after Iran demanded a review every three years.
The pipeline would initially carry 60 million cu. m of gas daily to Pakistan and India, half for each country.
The pipeline’s capacity would later rise to 150 million cu. m. Iran says it has completed 18% of the work for the pipeline to bring gas from its South Pars field to the Iran-Pakistan border.
Pakistan has yet to begin work on a 1,000km stretch of the pipeline to link Iran with India.
Iran has the world’s second-largest gas reserves after Russia. But sanctions, politics and construction delays have slowed its gas development, and analysts say Iran is unlikely to become a major exporter for a decade.