ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — The United States warned Pakistan that a recently signed gas pipeline deal with Iran could run afoul of new sanctions being finalized in Congress, the U.S. special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan said Sunday.
Envoy Richard Holbrooke delivered the message during a visit to Pakistan, his first since Iran inked a contract earlier this month to export 760 million cubic feet of gas per day to Pakistan beginning in 2014.
“We cautioned the Pakistanis to try to see what the (congressional) legislation is before deciding how to proceed because it would be a disaster if … we had a situation develop where an agreement was reached which then triggered something under the law,” Mr. Holbrooke said.
The United States has discouraged countries from doing business with Iran because of its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for a nuclear weapon. Washington has worked with the United Nations to levy four sets of sanctions against Iran and also unilaterally has targeted companies and individuals helping Iran develop its atomic and missile programs.
The United States also acknowledges that Pakistan faces a severe energy crisis and has made aid to the energy sector one of its top development priorities. Electricity shortages in Pakistan cause rolling blackouts that affect businesses and intensify suffering during the hot summer months.