Â A long-awaited agreement on Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project would be reached in the next two to three months, Iranian Ambassador to India Seyed Mehdi Nabizadeh said. There were only some “minor hitches” which would be ironed out soon, he said in Hyderabad after the ground breaking ceremony of the consulate office, Iran Daily reported.
On the nuclear issue, he said Iran was for peaceful use of nuclear energy and ready for inspection by any international body.
The proposed 2,600-km-long pipeline project is being built to deliver natural gas from hydrocarbon-rich Iran to Pakistan and energy-savvy India. The so-called “peace pipeline” is primarily aimed to promote peace by linking Iran, India and Pakistan. The 7.4-bln-dollar project is expected to become complete by 2010. In initial stage, 60 mln cubic meters of Iran’s natural gas will be transferred daily to India.
The project was conceptualized in 1989 by R. K. Pachauri, Indian chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in partnership with Ali Shams Ardekani, former deputy foreign minister of Iran. Dr Pachauri proposed the plan to both Iranian and Indian governments in 1990. The Government of Iran responded positively to the proposal.
Meanwhile, an Iranian diplomat said that trade transactions between Iran and India’s three southern states, including Andhra Pradesh, have increased.
Trade has increased to $700 mln over the past three years, IRNA quoted Hussein Ravesh Abzar, the head of Iran’s Consulate in Andhra Pradesh, as saying.
He pointed out that a total of 54 Indian companies in the field of machinery, chemical and food industries, as well as 23 pharmaceutical and 10 information technology companies do business with Iranian firms.
“We can increase the volume of our trade to $1 bln,” he added, commenting on improving the current cultural and scientific cooperation between the two countries.