A gas pipeline between Iran and neighbours Pakistan has been inaugurated – defying opposition from Washington.
Dignitaries headed by the presidents of the two countries mingled before a very public handshake.
In a speech Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a coded swipe at the US accusing, “foreign elements” of trying to derail Iran’s relations with Pakistan. “With natural gas you cannot make atomic bombs,” he said.
The 5.5 billion euro project dubbed the “peace pipeline” has faced repeated delays since its conception in the 1990s and is aimed at alleviating power shortages in Pakistan.
Work on the Iran part is almost complete, construction on the Pakistan side will now begin. The US has warned the project could incur sanctions connected with Iran’s nuclear programme.
One analyst said the pipeline not only caters to Pakistan’s energy needs but also earns brownie points with the many critics of the US among Pakistan’s electorate.