Iran pipeline sparks nuclear deal

SAKHALIN, Russia – Gazprom, the world’s largest gas firm, is eager to participate in the construction of a $7.4 billion Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline that would bring gas from the gigantic South Pars fields in Iran to the two South Asian countries, the Press Trust of India reports.

The Russian energy giant has previously held talks with authorities in Iran and India to become involved in a consortium, to include also Indian Oil Corp and Gail (India) Ltd. that would lay the 2,000-mile pipeline.

This isn’t welcome news for the United States, which formally opposes investment in Iran‘s oil and gas industry by any country. But the signing of a civil-nuclear energy cooperation deal with India last week was a U.S. attempt to wean the country from its pipeline plan, United News of India reported.

“We want Pakistan to think of other alternative sources of gas,” a highly placed U.S. State Department official told a group of visiting South Asian journalists. “But if we want this we will have to take care of energy needs of these countries and think of ways to help them.”