Pakistan recently decided to move forward with a gas pipeline project with Iran, despite warnings from the United States that involvement could subject Pakistani companies to new United States sanctions. In an e-mail interview, Harsh V. Pant, lecturer in the Department of Defense Studies at King's College of London, explains the pipeline's significance in the context of Pakistan-Iran relations.
WPR: What are the driving interests for both parties in this pipeline project?
Harsh V. Pant: Pakistan's growing energy needs and Iran's pool of energy resources make the two states natural economic partners, and served as the impetus behind the proposed gas pipeline, initially planned to include India as well. Facing an energy crisis that is having a damaging impact on the Pakistani economy, and with its domestic supplies of natural gas declining, Pakistan has now finalized the pipeline deal with Iran, despite Washington's demands to the contrary.