Iran deal fu­els tus­sle for gas pipe­lines in Pak­istan

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Aland­mark deal on Iran’s nu­clear pro­gramme has breathed new life into plans for a gas pipeline through Pak­istan ─ and sparked a geopo­lit­i­cal tus­sle, with Rus­sia look­ing to ex­pand its in­flu­ence, observers say.

With sanc­tions on Iran likely to ease and peace talks be­tween the Tal­iban and Afghan gov­ern­ment get­ting un­der way, wran­gling is in­ten­si­fy­ing over the pro­posed pipe­lines, which would link Cen­tral Asia to the Mid­dle East.

Is­lam­abad has hailed the nu­clear deal, struck af­ter long ne­go­ti­a­tions in Vi­enna, as re­viv­ing a stalled pro­ject to pipe gas from Iran’s south­ern fields to energy-starved Pak­istan.

Pak­istan is des­per­ate for so­lu­tions to a long-run­ning power cri­sis that has sapped eco­nomic growth and left the coun­try’s 200 mil­lion in­hab­i­tants fum­ing over in­ces­sant elec­tric­ity cuts.

The $7.5-bil­lion Iran-Pak­istan (IP) pipeline was in­au­gu­rated with great fanfare in March 2013 ─ but the pro­ject im­me­di­ately hit quick­sand in the form of in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions on Tehran, which meant cash-strapped Pak­istan strug­gled to raise the money to build its side.

Pak­istan Min­is­ter of Petroleum and Nat­u­ral Re­sources, Shahid Khaqan Ab­basi said the Vi­enna deal should al­low Is­lam­abad to make good on its

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