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Iran's Leader Tells Pakistani President That Pipeline Must Go Ahead


Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has told the visiting Pakistani president that a $7.5 billion gas pipeline project to bring Iranian gas to his country must go ahead.

Khamenei's office quoted him as telling President Asif Ali Zardari in Tehran on February 27, "The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline is an important example of Tehran-Islamabad cooperation, and despite hostilities toward the expansion of ties we must overcome this opposition decisively."

Earlier, Zardari discussed the pipeline project with his Iranian counterpart, Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

The pipeline agreement is due to be signed during Zardari's two-day visit.

Zardari was welcomed by Iranian Oil Minister Qassem Soleimani at Mehrabad airport on February 27.

Zardari will sign the pipeline agreement and a deal for Iranian help in building an oil refinery in the Pakistani port city of Gwadar.

Iran is offering to sell Pakistan some 21.5 million cubic meters of gas daily via the pipeline and also provide a loan of some $500 million for building the Pakistani section of the pipeline.

The oil refinery is expected to have the capacity to process some 400,000 barrels daily.

The projects have had trouble attracting investors due to U.S. objections.

Based on reporting by AP, IRNA, and AFP