US Warns Pakistan It Won't Support Gas Pipeline With Iran

State Department spokesperson warns that doing business with Iran runs the risk of touching upon and coming in contact with our sanctions

US Warns Pakistan It Won't Support Gas Pipeline With Iran

As Pakistan reviews legal pathways to convince the US to allow Islamabad to continue with the construction of the gas pipeline with Iran, the US has warned that Washington will not support any such project.

US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller stated this during his daily press briefing on Tuesday. 

During Tuesday's briefing, Miller was asked about comments from Assistant Secretary Donald Lu that the US was not in favour of Pakistan completing the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and that Pakistan was exploring legal options to obtain a waiver from the US on the matter.

In response, Miller suggested that any movement on the pipeline could attract US sanctions.

"We always advise everyone that doing business with Iran runs the risk of touching upon and coming in contact with our sanctions, and would advise everyone to consider that very carefully," he began, adding that Assistant Secretary Lu had made it clear last week, that the US does not support the pipeline going forward.

While testifying before a subcommittee of the US Congress House Committee on Foreign Affairs last week, Lu stated that Washington was working on a 'goal' to prevent the pipeline from being completed after Islamabad approved construction on the remaining 80-kilometre section of the pipeline.

"I fully support the efforts by the US government to prevent this pipeline from happening," he said in response to a query. "We are working toward that goal."

However, he dismissed the notion that building the pipeline signalled Islamabad's strategic alignment with Tehran, given how the two neighbours had traded missile strikes earlier in the year.

Lu, however, expressed his scepticism over the project's viability for cash-strapped Pakistan. 

"We are tracking this planned pipeline between Iran and Pakistan," he added. "Honestly, I don't know where the financing for such a project would come from. I don't think that many international donors would be interested in funding such an endeavour."

He conceded that Islamabad had not approached Washington for a waiver from US sanctions, which "would certainly result from such a project."

"We are in consultation with the Pakistani government on this issue," he continued. "The administration will uphold both in letter and spirit all sanction laws related to Iran."

Shangla attack and CPEC

Miller was also asked about the attack in Shangla that left five Chinese engineers dead and whether the US viewed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects the same way as the pipeline with Iran/

"First of all, we condemn the attack on a convoy of PRC (People's Republic of China) engineers in Pakistan. We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries sustained, and share our heartfelt condolences with those affected by the attack," he said, adding, "The Pakistani people have suffered greatly at the hands of terrorists, and I'll note that PRC nationals in Pakistan have also been the victims of terrorist attacks, and no country should suffer the acts of terror."

However, Miller refused to comment further on how the US views CPEC projects.