Ghanimifard named head of negotiating group for IPI Project

January 22, 2007 - 0:0
TEHRAN — Hojatollah Ghanimifard was selected as the head of the Iranian negotiating group for the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project, also known as the ‘Peace Pipeline’.

Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh selected Ghanimifard as his representative for talks on the Peace Pipeline, Petroenergy Information Network (PIN) reported on Sunday.

Ghanimifard currently is director at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for international affairs.

Mohammad-Hadi Nejad-Hosseinian was formerly heading the Iranian negotiator group, who bid farewell to his post this past December.

Nejad-Hosseinian noted that his withdrawal from the negotiating group will not make any change in Iran’s general policies on the project, Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported him as saying.

“The policies are determined by high ranking officials of the country, and oil ministry’s representatives just implement them,” Nejad-Hosseinian reasoned.

According to PIN, representatives of Iran, Pakistan, and India for trilateral working group on the Peace Pipeline are due to meet in Tehran on January 24 and 25 to further discuss the project.

Under IPI Project, India will receive natural gas from Iran’s giant gas field South Pars via a 1700-mile pipeline of which 475 miles will pass through Baluchistan in southern Pakistan.

Implementation of the project has so far met delays, in part due to lack of a trilateral consensus on price. With Iran believing price is low, India and Pakistan have considered it high.

After negotiations on pricing gave no way, three states appointed a UK-based consultant to assess the issue during one of tri-party meetings in August. The consultant has offered its report recently, which is reportedly being assessed by India and Pakistan.