Iran Holds out Possibility of Gas Pipeline

A01129027.jpgTEHRAN (FNA) Iran’s finance minister has raised the stakes in Southeast Asia by another notch by suggesting that a planned natural gas pipeline to Pakistan can be extended to Thailand.

Davoud Danesh Jafari, in a speech during an economic meeting in India, said Iran and Pakistan have reached an agreement to build the pipeline, and negotiations are to be conducted to include India, Bangkok Post reported.

But Tehran has never before suggested that the $22 billion project could be expanded to include Southeast Asia.

“We are very positive about the (Iran-Pakistan-India) pipeline because we firmly believe that it will have a regional impact,” Jafari told the Indo-Asian News Service carried on IANS wires.

“We are positive we can take the pipeline to Southeast Asia, to countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.”

He provided no further details, according to the IANS interview.

The talks with India centre on an Iranian offer to export five million tones of liquid natural gas to India per day for 25 years.

A natural gas pipeline from Iran to Thailand could change the economic plans of the country, and present an entirely new geopolitical situation for Thailand, which always has looked to Saudi Arabia and the West for its oil supplies and trade.

Ambassador Moshen Pakaein has become one of the busiest diplomats in Thailand over the past two years, and said in an interview printed in today’s Bangkok Post that the United States has failed in what he called attempts to force ASEAN nations to support sanctions against Iran.

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