Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Iran will not involve a fourth country in the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline for the time being but wants New Delhi and Islamabad to resolve their differences quickly.

“There have been close consultations at different levels and some discussions on technical issues. All three [countries] believe that this project would provide security and stability for the participants. So there is serious determination among the three nations to implement and realise the project as soon as possible,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told newspersons here.

On being asked whether Iran would accommodate China in view of India’s lukewarm response so far to the project, he said, “Iran is highly determined to implement the project between the three countries that have consulted and cooperated with each other on the project from the very beginning. We can consider other countries after the implementation and realisation of the pipeline.”

“Our recommendation to all the sides is to decide the issues soon, not postpone, and expedite the decision making,” Mr. Hosseini said. India did not attend three meetings scheduled in Islamabad and failed to respond to an Iranian offer for holding a trilateral meeting in Tehran this month.

According to reports, India is opposed to Pakistan’s demand for a transit charge for gas passing through its territory. On the situation in Pakistan, which shares a substantial border with Iran, the official was in favour of the people of the country deciding their future through elections.

“Insecurity in the region is a matter of concern. With respect to Pakistan, its people would like to rely on public referendum and elect their own representatives. We don’t want to interfere in any country’s internal affairs. We hope the authorities and leaders of Pakistan would come to an agreement with each other.”

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