Page last updated at 17:05 GMT, Thursday, 29 December 2005

Iran committed to India gas deal

Natural gas platform
India currently imports more than half its gas supplies

Iran says it remains committed to a gas pipeline project with India and Pakistan, despite US disapproval.

Deputy oil minister MH Nejad-Hosseinian said after two days of talks in Delhi that he expected Iran to begin deliveries to India by 2011.

The $6bn project is seen as crucial for India which relies heavily on fuel imports for its fast-growing economy.

India, Pakistan and Iran say they plan to finalise the deal in June next year and to start building in 2007.


The 2,600km (1,620-mile) pipeline would cross Pakistan to reach India and is expected to earn Pakistan millions of dollars in transit fees.

Iran says it expects to start building the pipeline in 2007

The US, which accuses Iran of seeking nuclear arms, objects to the project, which will benefit Iran financially.

Mr Nejad-Hosseinian said: "I do not think Pakistan and India will yield to pressure from the United States. This pipeline will bring peace to the region."

Indian petroleum secretary SC Tripathi said India wanted "a world-class project and gas availability... at affordable prices".

But he said differences still had to be resolved over the pricing of the gas.

Further talks between the three countries are scheduled for March 2006, when a draft agreement on the structure of the project, pricing formula and other areas is expected to be agreed upon.

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