TEHRAN, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari are set to officially inaugurate the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project on Monday, Press TV reported Sunday.
According to earlier reports, the 7.5-billion-U.S.-dollar project will be inaugurated by the two presidents at a ceremony to be held at the Iranian border city of Chahbahar.
Iran has constructed 900 km of the 1,600-km pipeline on its soil, said Press TV, adding that both Iranian and Pakistani firms will undertake the construction of the remaining part in Pakistan.
When the project is completed, Iran will export 21.5 million cubic meters of natural gas to Pakistan on a daily basis.
Despite strong opposition by the United States and possible sanctions, Zardari said last week that his energy-starved country would pursue the gas pipeline project and would persuade the critics that Pakistan needs energy.
Pakistan and Iran have held a series of talks on the project for nearly two decades, but it was finalized during the recent visit to Tehran by Zardari.
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 will shoulder the remaining cost from its own resources.
Both countries have agreed to complete the project by mid-2014.