Tehran, Nov 16: Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari has said there is no deadline for India to join the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline service, and expressed the hope that New Delhi would not buckle under pressure from Washington to join the rival gas pipeline project from Turkmenistan.
"We have not set any deadline for India to join the IPI pipeline project," The News quoted Nozari, as saying.
"What we are told is that India has kept their interest in the project. Both Iran and Pakistan expect and welcome India to join the project, we have not and will not set any deadlines (for India joining the project)," he added.
Nozari's statement comes soon after Iran and Pakistan finalised a contract for a multi-billion-dollar gas export deal that is schedule to be signed within a month.
The project, in its present state, envisages the construction of a 2,600-km-long pipeline that would bring gas from Iran's giant South Pars field to Pakistan and India.
India, which has not been able to resolve the issue of transit fee with Pakistan, has said that it would not participate in the trilateral talks till it is decided.