Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari inaugurated Monday a gas pipeline project which will link Iran's gas pipeline to that of Pakistan.
In the ground-breaking ceremony held in Iran's southeastern Chabahar city, which was attended by ministers and senior officials from Iran and Pakistan, Ahmadinejad said that the West " has no right to obstruct" Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project that has nothing to do with Iran's nuclear issue.
On Thursday, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Islamabad knows about some Western concerns but "we expect and hope that all our friends including the US would show more understanding on the issue."
"We are very clear about this project. It is in our national interest to go ahead with this project," he said, adding that being an energy deficient country, Pakistan is suffering both economically and socially.
Earlier in this month, Zardari said that his energy-starved country would pursue the multi-billion-US dollar gas pipeline project with Iran despite strong US opposition.
Zardari's statement came following the US State Department advised that Pakistan was better to look for other energy options instead of the Iran gas project.
Iran has constructed 900 km of the 1,600-km pipeline on its soil and both Iranian and Pakistani firms have undertaken the construction of the remaining part in Pakistan.
When the project is completed by mid-2014, as scheduled, Iran will export 21.5 million cubic meters of natural gas to Pakistan on daily basis.
Also on Monday, the Iranian president said that the gas pipeline project is aimed at creating "peace and security" in the region and there is no ground for propaganda against it if the West is interested in peace in the region.
Regarding the occasion as a "historic day" for the region, the Iranian president said that the gas pipeline project is the beginning of a "great work" which will benefit not only the two countries but also the whole region.
Iran and Pakistan need to stand on each other's side in the face of challenges, he said, adding that no foreign element will be able to affect the "brotherly relations" of Iran and Pakistan, and the gas pipeline project is only the beginning of the two country's large-scale cooperation.
Pakistan and Iran have held a series of talks on the project for nearly two decades.
Pakistani media has also reported that Tehran had agreed to provide a 500-million-dollar loan to partially finance the construction of the pipeline on the Pakistan side, which will cost 1.5 billion dollars. Pakistan itself will shoulder the remaining cost.