China is interested in IPI pipeline: Iranian envoy

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New Delhi, Sep.15 (ANI): China is interested in the proposed IPI pipeline, Iranian ambassador Seyed Mehdi Nabizedeh told journalists in Delhi. However he remained reticent on whether talks with China on the pipeline are going on.

Iranian envoy also invited India to rejoin the pipeline project but he emphasized that offer is not for the "unlimited period".

India has not officially pulled out from pipeline talks after rounds of discussions but has quitted talks following tensions with Pakistan. Indian officials also cited "security" and "non viability" of the proposed pipeline as the main reason for parting from the project.

Some commentators also view that India has pulled out from the project under US pressure.

The gas proposed IPI pipeline was to run 2,775 km when linked with the three countries.

The main sticking point in this trilateral project was also the hefty transit fee asked by Pakistan.

Iranian envoy further said that the project is still open for India but indicated that New Delhi has to take the call fast. When asked by the reporters that whether Iran is setting any timeframe for India to rejoin the project, He said that the work on the project is going very fast and one should understand the urgency to join the pipeline.

iran and Pakistan have signed agreement on the project and are going ahead with the project , Iranian envoy said " Very serious discussion on the trilateral project have taken place We waited long for India and expected that India and Pakistan would resolve the bottlenecks but that didn't t happen and we went ahead to sign the agreement with Pakistan.

The project, termed as the peace pipeline by officials from both countries, has been signed by President Zardari and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran on the sidelines of the tripartite summit on Afghanistan security in Tehran in May this year.

Appreciating India security concerns over the pipeline Seyed Mehdi Nabizedeh repeatedly told reporters that India could still join the project.

Iranian envoy also emphasized that India and Iran could extend cooperation in Afghanistan and hailed India-Iran teamwork in building Zeranj Delaram road in Afghanistan. He also asked India to follow independent foreign policy.

The IPI project was conceived in 1995 and after almost 13 years India finally decided to quit the project in 2008. By Naveen Kapoor(ANI)

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