WASHINGTON – The United States once again on Saturday voiced reservations on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, and hoped that Pakistan would not go in a direction that would cause the US to impose sanctions on it.

"I spoke about it quite extensively yesterday. Just to be absolutely clear again, if this deal is finalised for the proposed Iran-Pakistan pipeline, it would raise serious concerns under our Iran Sanctions Act," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told a press briefing here. The US, she added, was involved in many ways to help Pakistan address its energy needs.

In response to a question about Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s private visit to India, the spokesperson said the US reaffirmed its support for high-level dialogue between the two neighbors and supported Pakistan-India ties and high-level talks.  "As a general matter……we strongly support these ties and communications and high-level dialogue between India and Pakistan, the progress that they have made in visa, in travel, in economic warming," Nuland said to a media query, adding, "So if there's a new visit coming up thats a good thing, and we'll get more on that as that happens. Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf's visit to India augurs well."  She further said, “The US has always supported positive headway in Pak-India relations. Pakistan and India are improving their relations on diplomatic level.

Questioned if the US ambassadors were in touch with the two countries on this private visit, the spokesperson said, "We are always encouraging from our ambassadorial level in both Delhi and Islamabad the increasing warming in that relationship".

During the private trip, Prime Minister Ashraf will visit the shrine of a saint in Ajmer Sharif.