Tehran-Pakistan horizon of ties bright: Envoy

Islamabad, Feb 22, IRNA - Iran and Pakistan are time-tested friends and the horizon of their relations is very bright, Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost said at seminar in the Pakistan's capital on Thursday.

Honardoost, speaking at the seminar on ‘Contemporary Relations between Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia: Present Challenges’ organized by Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) in Islamabad, said that Iran and Pakistan have many common grounds to build their relations upon.

“Not any two countries of the world have so much commonality like Iran and Pakistan,” he said.

The diplomat noted that trade relations between the two neighboring countries is not as good as the political or cultural ties between Tehran and Islamabad.

He added that during the past two years ties between Iran and Pakistan have improved considerably.

The Iranian envoy to Pakistan also said that regular exchange of high-level visits between Iran and Pakistan show that the leadership of the two nations is keen to meet each other to seek further enhancement of ties.

Honardoost said that convergence and cooperation is the only solution to bridge gaps or remove misunderstandings between the two friendly neighbors and to stop other powers from interfering in our region.

He went on to refer to the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project, saying the project is very important for Pakistan and it can bring change to the country's economy.

The IP can help Pakistan to overcome its energy needs, he said, adding that despite an investment of two billion dollars by Iran, the project has not still been completed.

The ambassador said Iran and Pakistan share common concerns regarding the issue of terrorism and extremism.

Illiteracy and poverty are the reasons behind extremism, Honardoost stressed.

He said that drug smuggling is also another threat which Iran and Pakistan share.

After the US attacked Afghanistan the drug traffickers became more active and posed a direct threat against the youth of Iran and Pakistan, he said.

The diplomat went on to say that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a game changer project for the region.

Honardoost also urged that madrasah curriculum in Pakistan and some regional states must be revisited because some countries have changed the shining face of Islam under the name of religion and said that Iran and Pakistan have a common enemy.

He added that Iran and Pakistan share common views on many regional and international issues.

The ambassador said that Pakistan had also tried to play the role of a mediator to diffuse tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

He added that the trade ties between Iran and Pakistan are also improving and the past year saw the bilateral trade between the two nations to reach 1.5 billion dollars.

But according to Honardoost, the lack of banking channels between Iran and Pakistan is hindering the trade between Iran and Pakistan.

Otherwise the bilateral trade volume could be much higher, he said.

“Right now both Iran and Pakistan are under American attack,” he said.

Why 80 percent of the disastrous events are occurring in the Islamic world, he asked.

“Unfortunately some of our Muslim brothers are playing in the hands of the Americans,” the Iranian envoy said.

Honardoost said that Muslim countries must sit together and find out those responsible for the chaotic situation in the region and try to address the issues.

He also called for an end to the approach of Iranophobia.

“Iran is a rich country and has everything that other countries desire to have, so why Iran would look towards other countries to fulfill its needs,” he asked.

“We must engage with each other to solve our issues as our enemies are laughing at us,” added the ambassador.

We are working under a scenario and we have to realize that,” he noted.

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