Diplomatic Resilience: Pakistan-Iran Gas Pipeline – OpEd


Pakistan has made decision to proceed with the gas pipeline project with Iran, despite opposition from the United States, reflects the evolving geopolitics in the region. The diplomatic maneuver underscores Pakistan’s commitment to safeguarding national interests and readiness to navigate around U.S. sanctions. The project holds promise for enhancing relations between Iran and Pakistan, strengthening economic partnerships, and tackling Pakistan’s energy shortfall.

The successful implementation of the pipeline is vital for Pakistan’s energy security and to cater to escalating energy demands, promoting economic and trade relations between the two nations. Although, the diplomatic ramifications of this initiative are substantial, as it signifies a potential transformation in the regional geopolitical dynamics. Pakistan’s persistence with the pipeline project in defiance of U.S. objections demonstrates its determination to uphold its national interests, even in the face of external pressures.

Moreover, the development could herald a shift in the geopolitical landscape of the region, with countries like Pakistan potentially adopting a more assertive stance in their foreign policy decisions. Additionally, the project has the potential to enhance ties between Iran and Pakistan, bolster economic cooperation, and address Pakistan’s energy deficit. The pipeline could also assist Pakistan in overcoming the challenges posed by U.S. sanctions on Iran and in securing alternative energy sources.

Risks & Challenges

Pakistan’s determination to proceed with the gas pipeline project with Iran despite opposition from the United States presents various risks and obstacles. The U.S. has made its disapproval of the project clear, cautioning against engaging in business with Iran and threatening potential sanctions. This situation poses a significant challenge for Pakistan as it endeavors to navigate the intricate geopolitical terrain and safeguard its national interests.

Moreover, one of the key risks for Pakistan is the possibility of facing U.S. sanctions. Though, with the U.S. having already imposed numerous rounds of sanctions on Iranian entities, Pakistan risks encountering these sanctions by proceeding with the pipeline project. Moreover, this could portray a considerable hurdle for Pakistan as it aims to complete the pipeline while avoiding any potential repercussions from the U.S. Another challenge for Pakistan is the financial penalties it may incur for failing to meet the project deadline.

Furthermore, as per the agreement between Pakistan and Iran, Pakistan is obliged to finish its part of the pipeline by March 2024 or face $18 billion in financial penalties. This could place a substantial financial strain on Pakistan, particularly as the country is grappling with economic difficulties and is in the process of seeking a 24th bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

Despite these challenges, Pakistan has affirmed its commitment to seeing the pipeline through, highlighting the strategic economic partnership with Iran and the mutual benefits that could arise for both nations. Pakistan has also expressed its readiness to pursue a waiver from U.S. sanctions for the project, underscoring its economic requirements and the potential advantages associated with the pipeline.

In conclusion, the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline initiative represents a significant geopolitical development in the region, showcasing Pakistan’s commitment to safeguarding its national interests despite U.S. opposition. This project aims to strengthen relations between Iran and Pakistan, boost economic ties, and address Pakistan’s energy shortage. However, persisting with the pipeline project in the face of U.S. opposition poses challenges such as potential sanctions and financial penalties. Despite these risks, Pakistan remains determined to successfully complete the pipeline, highlighting the strategic economic partnership with Iran and the mutual benefits for both countries.

Zubair Mumtaz

Zubair Mumtaz is a Conflict Analyst and M.Phil. Scholar at National Defence University in Peace & Conflict Studies, specializing in South Asian Conflicts and Conflict Resolution Strategies. He is currently working for Radiant Journal Foundation as a Research Associate, and explores the complexities of regional/Global dynamics, offering insightful perspectives on security issues and conflict.

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