Iranian and Pakistani leaders inaugurate gas pipeline project
By Farhad Pouladi, AFPCHABAHAR, Iran--The presidents of Iran and Pakistan on Monday inaugurated the construction of a much-delayed section of a US$7.5 billion gas pipeline linking the two neighbors, Iranian media reported.
March 12, 2013, 12:19 am TWN
The project was launched at a ceremony on the Iran-Pakistan border attended by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari, the reports said.
The two leaders jointly unveiled a plaque before shaking hands and offering prayers for the successful conclusion of the project, which involves the laying of a 780 kilometer (485 mile) section of the pipeline on the Pakistani side, expected to cost some US$1.5 billion.
“The completion of the pipeline is in the interests of peace, security and progress of the two countries ... it will also consolidate the economic, political and security ties of the two nations,” they said in a joint statement.
Ahmadinejad hailed the fact that work on the new section of pipeline was going ahead despite U.S. sanctions against Iran's oil and gas sector imposed over its controversial nuclear program.
“This gas pipeline is a sign of show of resistance against domination,” Ahmadinejad said.
EU Bolsters Sanctions Against Iran for Rights Abuse
EU foreign ministers strengthened sanctions against Iran on Monday for “serious human rights violations,” adding new names to a list of Iranians targeted by a visa ban and asset freeze.
The ministers renewed existing European Union sanctions for another 12 months while adding nine new names to the blacklist, bringing to 87 the total number of people subject to an EU travel ban and asset freeze.
The names of those on the new list of sanctions, which will be valid until April 13 next year, will be published in the EU Official Journal on Tuesday.
Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore, whose country currently holds the rotating EU chairmanship, said last month “we cannot remain silent in the face of violent oppression of dissent, as well as detention and execution without fair trial.”