Pakistan’s request to Iran to interpret the sanction that has put the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project means that the future of the project is still uncertain. Pakistan maintains that the sanctions that the United Nations (UN) and other nations in general and those imposed by the United States (US) in particular restrict Pakistan from the execution of the project. The project that was supposed to be operational on 1st January 2015 is off the table for the last four years limiting Pakistan’s option of importing cheap gas from Iran.

Nevertheless, Iran maintains that the international sanctions have nothing to do with the gas trade between the two sides. The government has taken a wise step by asking Iranian authorities to provide a detailed interpretation of the sanctions, as it will help both sides to find a workable solution for the IP project.

For Pakistan, the project is essential for the gas through the pipeline project mentioned before will cater to the energy needs of Pakistan. The significance of the project for Iran lies in the fact that it will fatten Iran’s economy. However, having said so much, Pakistan also needs to request Iran to revise certain clauses of the IP gas project, especially the one under which the price of the gas is linked with oil prices. Pakistan can only benefit from the project if the gas is a cheaper source of energy.

However, even though the project is in limbo, what is assuring is the fact that both countries have decided to solve the issue together. The future of the project can only be predicted once Pakistan gets Iran’s response to the interpretation of the sanctions. In the present times, when the US needs both Pakistan and Iran to get its forces out of the Afghan quagmire, the two neighbours can together exert pressure on the US, at least, to secure a waiver for the IP gas project.