ISLAMABAD, March 4 (AFP) : US President George W. Bush said Saturday he had no objections to an Iranian linked pipeline to supply natural gas to India and Pakistan.
However, he indicated that the United States was unlikely to agree a civilian nuclear deal with Pakistan like it had with India.
"Our beef with Iran is not the pipeline, our beef with Iran is in fact they want to develop a nuclear weapon and I believe a nuclear weapon in the hands of the Iranians will be very dangerous for all of us," Bush told a joint news conference with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
Bush said Musharraf raised the need for Pakistan to get a natural gas supply from the region to fuel its growing economy.
"He explained to me the natural gas situation here in this country. We understand the need to get natural gas in the region, that's fine," Bush said.
The United States had previously said it was "absolutely opposed" to the natural gas pipeline project linking Iran with Pakistan and India, even though it was seen as feasible by many experts.
Iran, which Washington accuses of trying to build a nuclear bomb and being a state sponsor of terror, is reportedly nearing an accord with the two neighbours for the 2,600-kilometre (1,600-mile) pipeline costing more than seven billion dollars.
Bush also suggested that a US-Indian civilian nuclear deal, which he sealed with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before his trip to Islamabad, was unlikely to be replicated for Pakistan.
Musharraf had raised the possibility of the United States forging a similar deal with Pakistan during their talks.
"We discussed the civilian nuclear program and I explained to him that Pakistan and India are different countries with different needs and different histories," Bush said.
"So as we proceed forward, our strategies will take into effect those well known differences," he said.
Bush and Prime Minister Singh agreed Thursday that New Delhi would place its civilian atomic reactors under global scrutiny for the first time in more than three decades in return for nuclear technology-driven energy required to power India's rapidly growing economy.
BBC adds: US President George W Bush has praised Pakistan for its "bold decision" to join the war on terror following the 11 September 2001 attacks.
Speaking at the end of a two-day visit, Bush reaffirmed a "broad and lasting strategic partnership" with Pakistan".
"President Musharraf made a bold decision after September 11 when Pakistan chose to fight terror," Bush said at a joint press conference following talks with military ruler Musharraf.
Pakistan abandoned its support for Afghanistan's Taliban after the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington and backed Washington's military offensive against the fundamentalist regime.
But when asked about Indian and Afghan concerns that Pakistan has not done enough to crack down on extremists, Bush replied: "There is a lot of work to be done in defeating Al-Qaeda.