NEW DELHI, July 28 (MNA) -- Next week, the deputy foreign ministers of Iran, Pakistan, and India will gather in New Delhi to discuss the tariffs as well as the technical and economic considerations of the three countries’ gas pipeline project.

Prior to this, several meetings were held, but none produced a satisfactory result due to certain obstacles that ran contrary to the national strategies of the countries.

 

To get a better picture of the situation, on Friday the Mehr News Agency conducted an interview with Iranian Ambassador to New Delhi Siavosh Zargar Yaqubi, a diplomat who has played an effective role in the process of negotiations.

 

Following are excerpts of the interview:

 

Q: Would you please elaborate on the most recent developments in trilateral negotiations over the gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan and India?

 

A: Some 11 years has passed since the proposal for the gas pipeline was first presented, and it has made satisfactory progress over the past two years.

 

Some political negotiations have been held between the three countries. The main technical studies -- including six rounds of negotiations with India and two rounds of negotiations with Pakistan -- are already concluded. India and Pakistan have also held separate bilateral talks with each other over the gas pipeline.

 

Satisfactory talks were held between (Iranian President Mahmud) Ahamadinejad and Indian, Pakistani, and Russian officials, and the Russian president expressed interest in participating in the project.

 

Presently, the August 3–4 third trilateral conference is scheduled to be held in New Delhi at the deputy oil ministers level. Another conference will also be held in Tehran in the future.

 

Q: This gas pipeline is usually viewed as the “peace pipeline”. Besides its impact on political relations between India and Pakistan, what other potential impact will it have on the region?

 

A: Of course, such nicknames are chosen regardless of the realities of the region. The fact is that if the pipeline project is implemented, regional geopolitics will move toward the East, and the way will be paved for connecting Iran’s gas resources not only to India but also to China.

 

If the pipeline project is implemented, on the one hand, the energy security of these countries will be maintained through access to the enormous gas reserves of Iran, and, on the other hand, Iran will also be able to find some non-Western markets for its future and increase the level of security in the region.

 

Regardless of all the political and security considerations, during a period of five years, the gas pipeline and LNG can annually earn some $12 billion for the country and can efficiently boost economic development in India, Pakistan, and China.

 

It is also predicted that the gas pipeline will produce one million job opportunities in the three countries, either directly or indirectly.

 

Q: The Indians are apparently worried about the security of the gas pipeline?

 

A: This gas pipeline is not the only gas pipeline in the world. There are also other gas pipelines that are located in more dangerous regions. However, there are some mechanisms to guarantee the security of the gas pipeline that will allay all concerns.

 

Q: What are the main problems hindering the project?

 

A: Of course, it is quite natural that all great strategic projects face different challenges relative to their size. This project also faces some software and hardware problems. In regard to domestic considerations, there are people or groups in these three countries who are opposed to such projects due to various historical, political, and even national reasons. 

 

However, the other problems are caused by some extra-regional countries that are Iran’s rivals in all economic and political arenas. The implementation of the gas pipeline project will not only reduce their geopolitical importance in the region but will also deprive them of all those markets they have monopolized during the absence of Iran, although they have actually been Iran’s markets.

 

The third group of problems is caused by Iran’s nuclear dossier. Even if this nuclear problem is peacefully resolved, some Western countries will continue their opposition to Iran’s development and integration into the region. These countries are seeking to create an arms race in the region and have succeeded to some extent.

 

Nevertheless, the implementation of major projects like the gas pipeline project will not only decrease tension between all those countries that belong to a single civilizational zone but will also be the greatest step ever taken toward building confidence.

 

SA/HG

MNA

END

News Code 18619

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