ISLAMABAD, March 15, 2019: Iran’s Ambassador to Pakistan Mr Mehdi Honardoost has called for putting counter-terrorism cooperation at the top of Pak-Iran bilateral agenda.
The ambassador was speaking on ‘Pak-Iran Relations: Current scenario and future prospects’ at Islamabad Policy Institute (IPI).
“Iran and Pakistan are victims of terrorism. This concern should be at the top of the agenda of negotiations and consultations between the relevant authorities.”
The envoy made this comment in the context of last month’s bomb attack on Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps in the bordering ‘Sistan and Baluchestan Province’, the abduction of border guards in Oct 2018, and similar terrorism incidents in the past.
Mr Honardoost said the “hand of a third party” was evident in these incidents. About the “third party”, he said it was the “one that was not easy with brotherly and friendly ties between Pakistan and Iran” and was also involved with patronizing “extremism and terrorism”.
He said he was confident that Pakistan and Iran would together foil the sinister designs of “the third party”.
Speaking about the recent conversation between Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Rouhani, Mr Honardoost said, the two leaders had reaffirmed their pledge to cooperate for border security.
He said Iran was having good communication with Pakistan on all issues. The two countries, he said, were exploring new areas of cooperation.
About Saudi Arabia’s planned investment in Gawadar, the ambassador said, Tehran was not concerned about “constructive engagement” of any country with Pakistan. “We expect solidarity, cooperation, and interaction between Pakistan and other Muslim countries to improve,” he said. He, however, emphasized that it was Pakistan’s obligation as a responsible country that “the cooperation is not misused against any other country”.
The ambassador spoke about trade and economic cooperation between Pakistan and Iran. Emphasizing the importance of completion of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, he said it could “provide the foundation for revival of Pakistan’s economy” by strengthening Pakistan’s energy security and ending power shortages. “We are waiting for Pakistan to move on the project,” he said.
He reiterated that Pakistan’s Gawadar and Iran’s Chahbahar ports “were not rival ports”, and instead had a “sisterhood relationship”.
The ambassador said a passenger and goods ferry service between Karachi and Chahbahar was being negotiated. “The inauguration of ferry service and initiation of supply of electricity to Gawadar from Iran would be the best way to celebrate the sisterhood of two ports,” he said.