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Pakistan’s Zardari To Visit Iran For Pipeline Ceremony

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (left) shakes hands with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari upon his arrival for a meeting in Tehran on February 27.
Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari will travel to Iran next week to attend a ground-breaking ceremony for a natural gas pipeline connecting the two countries.

Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Moazzam Ahmad Khan made the announcement on March 7, saying Zardari will be in Iran on March 11 for his second trip there since February 27.

The ceremony will mark the start of construction of the 780-kilometer pipeline to bring Iranian gas to Pakistan despite objections from Washington.

The project has raised concerns from countries that are imposing sanctions on Iran for that country’s nuclear program.

Pakistani officials counter that their country is in desperate need of energy resources.

Iran has offered to loan Pakistan one-third of the $1.5 billion that the Pakistani section of the pipeline is expected to cost.

Based on reporting by and AFP