THE Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari on Monday officially inaugurated the final construction phase of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, despite the all-out US pressure to stop Pakistan taking part in the project.
The US State Department has in fact threatened Islamabad with sanctions if the country goes through with the joint multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline project. Apparently, the US can stand Pakistan acquiring nuclear weapons but cannot tolerate a gas link with Iran.
The 1996 Iran Sanctions Act allows the US government to ban imports from any non-American company that invests more than US$20 million a year in the Iranian oil and natural gas sector.
Iran’s Ahmadinejad and Pakistan’s Zardari attended the ceremony on the Iran-Pakistan border.
The Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Javad Owji said that Pakistan has raised its demand for natural gas imports from Iran to 30 million cubic metres (mcm) per day from a previous 21.5 mcm.
Owji added that Iran had hitherto spent US$2 billion to build the section of the pipeline that lies on the Iranian side of the border and that the Pakistani section will need US$3 billion.
‘There are people who are against the progress of Iran, Pakistan and other countries. They have found an excuse – called the nuclear issue – to exert pressure on Iran and to prevent its progress,’ President Ahmadinejad said on Monday.
‘I want to tell them the gas pipeline has nothing to do with nuclear energy; you can’t make an atomic bomb with natural gas.’
However, completion of the gas pipeline will bring Pakistan and Iran much closer together, and make absolute nonsense of the US efforts to prevent Iran developing its nuclear technology.
Meanwhile in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai, the current US puppet, feels that his days are numbered and that the US is preparing to support the establishment of an Afghan government in which the Taliban will be the majority and in which there will be no place for him at all.
On Sunday, Karzai said that talks are under way on a daily basis ‘between Taliban, American and foreigners in Europe and in the (Persian) Gulf states.’
Referring to two Taliban bombings in Kabul and Khost which killed 17 people on Saturday, Karzai said: ‘Those bombs . . . were not a show of force to America. They were in the service of America. It was in the service of the 2014 slogan to warn us if they are not here then the Taliban will come.’
In fact, the Taleban were showing the new US Secretary of State Hagel, who was in Kabul on the day, that they can operate anywhere, when and how they like, that they are the real power in Afghanistan, and that there is no need or place for President Karzai at all.
After Karzai spoke out about US-Taliban talks a joint appearance, with Hagel by his side in front of the TV cameras, was cancelled.
General Joseph Dunford, commander of the NATO forces in Afghanistan, strongly criticised Karzai’s speech and was forced to deny that the US and the Taliban were working together. He said: ‘I don’t know why President Karzai might be doing this,’ adding: ‘I guess his perspective is maybe it’s productive to air these differences in public . . . but I let others judge if that’s being particularly helpful.’
What is evident is that the game is up for the US as well as Karzai in central Asia. A Taliban-led government in Afghanistan and a closely linked Pakistan and Iran leave no place for the US in the region.
The use of colossal military power, including the murderous drone operations, has all come to nought, spelling out that the time has arrived for putting an end to capitalism and imperialism throughout the planet.