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Pakistani President Says No Plans To Quit Iran Pipeline

26 January 2006 -- President Pervez Musharraf has said Pakistan has no plans to abandon a project with Iran to build a natural-gas pipeline despite U.S. pressure aimed at convincing it to do so.

In an interview published today in the "Financial Times," Musharraf says Pakistan needs the gas for its economic development, and no country has the right to tell Pakistan not to proceed with the project.

However, Musharraf is also quoted as suggesting that the United States might compensate Pakistan for not going forward with the deal.

The project is envisaged carrying gas from Iran to Pakistan and also on to India. Its cost has been estimated at more than $7 billion.

The United States and the European Union are seeking to isolate the Iranian government over Tehran's continuing nuclear program, which they fear is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

(with additional agency reports)

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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