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Iran, Pakistan finalise gas contract

Tehran and Islamabad reach a conclusion to the contract in the absence of India, a potential party to the deal.

world Updated: Nov 11, 2007 02:08 IST

Iran and Pakistan have finalised a contract for a multi-billion-dollar gas export deal scheduled to be signed within a month, the Iranian oil ministry’s news service Shana reported on Saturday.

“The content of the Peace Pipeline contract has been finalised and all the points prepared by the two sides’ legal experts have been re-read and agreed by the two sides,” Iran’s deputy minister in charge of the project, Hojatollah Ganimifard, was quoted as saying.

“The remaining points which are technical... must be studied within a month to make the contract ready for...signing by the heads of the two countries,” Ghanimifard said.

Tehran and Islamabad have neared a conclusion to the contract in the absence of India, a potential party to the deal.

Talks on the 7.4-billion-dollar project to supply gas to India through a 2,600-km pipeline began in 1994 but were stalled by tensions between India and Pakistan.

Talks resumed early in 2004 along with peace moves between India and Pakistan, but dragged because of New Delhi’s opposition to periodic price reviews.

An early October agreement between Iran and Pakistan marked a breakthrough in the long-lasting talks when they agreed to a periodic revision of gas prices every three years instead of a long-term fixed price.

The pricing formula, pushed by Iran, will be flexible based on the international market situation.

India has come under US pressure to pull out of the project, as part of Washington’s drive to sanction Iran for its refusal to suspend its nuclear programme.