US offers fresh sanctions warning over Iran-Pakistan pipeline

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari held a groundbreaking ceremony in Iran for construction to extend the pipeline into Pakistan, according to Bloomberg and other outlets.

Ahmadinejad called the day “historic,” according to the Associated Press. “The Westerners have no right to make any obstacles in the way of the project,” he said.

But AP notes there are major doubts about how Pakistan will provide the $1.5 billion needed to construct the pipeline, and Nuland expressed some skepticism that the project would proceed.

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“We've heard this pipeline announced about 10 or 15 times before in the past. So we have to see what actually happens,” Nuland said.

“This pipeline project, if it actually goes forward – we've seen that promise many times – would take Pakistan in the wrong direction right at a time that we're trying to work with Pakistan on better, more reliable ways to meet its energy needs,” she said.

Nuland noted efforts to help renovate power plants and dams, new dams, and other initiatives to help Pakistan, which has faced major blackouts.