US ‘Encouraging’ India, Pak Not to Transact Deals with Iran

The US is ‘encouraging’ India and Pakistan to refrain from conducting deals like gas pipeline with Iran when Washington is engaged in sensitive negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear programme, reported IANS.

“The US has encouraged our friends in the government of Pakistan to try to seek alternatives,” Robert Blake, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, was quoted as saying in a briefing about his brief trip to India, Afghanistan and Pakistan last month.

In response to a query whether he discussed with Islamabad the matter of Pakistan inking a contract with Iran about gas pipeline during the visit, he said that he told Paksitan that ‘people have been talking about this pipeline for a long time, but I think there continue to be many challenges, and to actually building the pipeline’, said report.

“So nonetheless we have encouraged our friends in the government of Pakistan to try to seek alternatives,” Blake was quoted as saying, noting, “Our concerns about the government of Iran are very well known.”

“And given its current unwillingness to address its international obligations and international concerns about its nuclear programme, we don’t think that this is the time for such transactions to be taking place with Iran.”

Responding to another query about India planning to resume talks with Tehran on the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline after three years, he said that same applied to India, report said.

“This is a very sensitive time in negotiations with Iran, and we would prefer that all countries not conduct such transactions with Iran at this time,for the reasons that I already outlined,” Blake was quoted as sayig.

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