US says its opposition to Pak-Iran gas pipeline project remains intact

Eurasia News

WASHINGTON: The United States has said that its opposition to the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project continues to exist, irrespective of the fact that a historic nuclear deal with Tehran was reached last week, Dispatch News Desk reported.

“Just as a reminder, there is very limited reversible relief that’s a part of the first step. That does not impact the core sanctions regime, so our position on that has not changed,” US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a news briefing, in reply to a question that if the deal with Iran also changed US’s position on the project.

On November 24, Iran with the US and five other world powers struck a historic nuclear deal in Geneva which will last for the six-month period only allowing Iran to continue enriching uranium but only to five per cent that is enough for energy production, but not enough to produce material needed for the nuclear warheads.

The French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also announced a day after the deal that the European Union will likely lift some sanctions imposed against Iran in December; however the move will be reversible.

The State Department spokesperson also criticised Pakistan’s decision to bring murder charges against Shakeel Afridi, the doctor who helped the CIA track down former Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

A murder case was lodged against Dr Shakeel Afridi last week by the Khyber Agency administration on the complaint of a mother whose son died after Dr Shakeel conducted his surgery when he was not qualified to do so.

“We are of course concerned about the new charge brought late last week against Dr Afridi,” she said.

“His assistance in confirming the location of bin Ladin was a service to the entire world and to Pakistanis who had lost loved ones and suffered at the hands of Al Qaeda.”

Psaki “called on proper authorities to ensure that Dr Afridi receives a fair trial for this new charge”.

The spokesperson said the US had long expressed its belief that his treatment was both unjust and unwarranted.

“We’re concerned about his health and well-being. We’ve encouraged the Pakistani government to protect him and his family. Obviously, he not only remains in jail, but he’s been charged with a new crime, so I will let you answer that question for yourself.”