The United States, while once again making its concerns on the proposed Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project known, seems circumspect about the long term viability and success of the project itself, considering the fact that it has had several false starts already.
When asked about the views of United States on the proposed pipeline , which was discussed during the trilateral summit (involving Afghanistan as well) in Islamabad, the spokesperson of the State Department said "we have issues of concern and we’ve been very clear about those with the Government of Pakistan,"
"We’ve spoken to this many times before, if in fact the pipeline does go forward, and there’ve been a lot of false starts and back and forth on that," she observed.
On another question about President Zardari s statement that Pakistan will go ahead with this project despite any pressure and what options could the US administration exercise in such an eventuality, she declined to give a definitive answer.
"I’m not going to speculate where this is going to go. We’ve seen this discussion about this proposed pipeline go on for a long time, and there have been many fits and starts. We think it’s a bad idea; we’ve made that clear. But I’m not going to predict where this might go," she reiterated.
Ms. Nuland though repeated her comments, made a day earlier, about the summit involving Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. "The degree to which it helps these countries to do better as neighbours, that’s a good thing. The degree to which it gets everybody supportive of a process of Afghan to Afghan reconciliation, that’s a good thing. The degree to which it allows them to talk about issues that have been difficult among them, including some of the concerns that we have about Iran’s activity in Afghanistan, that’s a good thing," she pointed out.
A journalist asked her that many countries including India, Pakistan, Russia, and China are still doing business with Iran, despite US effort to impose sanctions on it, she said that the US administration was engaged in conversations with all such governments with regards to the importance of implementing existing international sanctions, national sanctions, and also doing what they can to increase sanctions, particularly to wean themselves from Iranian crude.
"This is a process, it’s still going on. But as the Secretary (Hillary Clinton) said, we do assess that the pressure, economic and diplomatic, on Iran is beginning to pinch. And you see the fruit of that, and the fact that we – after many months, have Iran suggesting that we go back to the table," she said while explaining her government s position.
When reminded by another journalist about President Zardari’s statement, during the joint press conference after the summit in Islamabad, that if any country attacked Iran, Pakistan will support Iran in that fight, the spokesperson said that "the goal of the process that we are engaged in, the two-track process of pressure and openness to talks under the right circumstances, is designed to ensure that we can solve this diplomatically and it doesn’t come to the scenario that you reference."
Commenting on a resolution passed in the Pakistani parliament a few days ago that the US should not interfere in the country’s internal matters on many issues, she categorically denied that American administration was doing any such meddling. "We’re not seeking to interfere in their internal issues," she asserted.