Iran-China-Pakistan trilateral mechanism termed vital to counter unilateral approach in region

Islamabad, July 30, IRNA -- International experts at a webinar have called for building Iran-China-Pakistan trilateral mechanism to counter unilateral approach in the region, adding that Iran-China 25-year Comprehensive Strategic Plan would bring peace and security to the region.

The webinar titled ‘China’s Expanding Investments in Iran and Pakistan: Prospects of Trilateral Cooperation’, was hosted by Islamabad Policy Institute (IPI) with an aim to study the potential impact of the 25-year economic and security pact between China and Iran.  

A final agreement is expected to be signed by the two countries in March next year. Chinese and Iranian experts also participated in the webinar.

Chairman of Pakistan’s Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Mushahid Hussain Sayed chairing the webinar said, “China’s entry into Iran with the strategic partnership will help secure our Western borders and strengthen China Pakistan Economic Corridor”.

He said the development would have a “far-reaching” impact and China can be a bridge between Pakistan and Iran in terms of promoting their cooperation. “We welcome this development,” he said.

The lawmaker noted that the US and UK are talking about the cold war which is very disturbing. He noted that the US has almost lost 6 trillion dollars in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and yet they have to understand that use of force cannot solve the issues.

He said that the JCPOA has been put on hold and the Zionist lobby in the US is trying to create problems for Iran. 

He said Pakistan stands to benefit from China’s expected strategic deal with Iran. 

The chairman of Senate committee said Pakistan and Iran enjoy “strategic confluence” of their interests – peaceful and secure borders without each other’s territory being used by non-state actors to destabilize either neighbor; regional economic and trade connectivity via BRI/CPEC; cultural connectivity through the common heritage of religion, history and Allama Iqbal; durable peace and stability in Afghanistan; opposing hegemonism, sectarianism, terrorism and extremism; and rejecting a ‘New Cold War’ in the region.

He added that the new world is opening up and we have to reset our priorities adding that human security, health, education, people-centered development, climate should be given more focus. "We have to secure the livelihood of our people," he said. 

He also expressed solidarity with Iran and China over their fight against coronavirus.

Iran’s ambassador to Pakistan Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini, in an article for IPI’s website, the excerpts of which were read out at the webinar, said the comprehensive document, which is still being finalized, would provide a framework for “long-term and strategic cooperation in all political and economic fields and in an equal and fair approach”.

The ambassador said Iran was ready to extend its cooperation with China to other friendly countries in the region in a regional mechanism.

Professor (Dr) Foad Izadi of the University of Tehran expressed his views by saying that the progress towards a strategic cooperation pact between China and Iran presents an opportunity for trilateral cooperation between the three countries, which have common concerns and common goals.

He said that he is foreseeing a trans-Himalayan pipeline from Iran to Western China through Pakistan.

He said the arrangement is logical because China would get secure and reasonably priced energy supply for decades, Pakistan could earn transit fees, and Iran would get an alternate route to deal with the US maximum pressure policy. "Iran cannot find better partners than China and Pakistan," he added.

Foad Izadi added that Pakistan has been facing difficulty by the US. “We have common concerns towards the US foreign policy,” he noted. He said that the US has been creating problems for its adversaries.

He said that since the success of the Islamic Revolution Iran has been following an independent foreign policy.  

The scholar said that the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline was supposed to bring Iranian gas to Pakistan but this project is not progressing at the moment.

He strongly believed that Russia should also be included in China, Iran, and Pakistan's cooperation. He also suggested forming an Asian Nato to solve the issues of the region.

Senior Fellow at the Center for West Asian and African Studies, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, Dr. Jin Liangxiang, while speaking at the webinar, said the China-Iran deal could benefit all three countries – China, Iran and Pakistan through energy cooperation, construction of pipelines for transporting Iranian oil and gas to China, and improved market access.

He called for building trilateral mechanisms for promoting the prospects of cooperation. He also warned of challenges in this cooperation, including trust-building between the three countries and possible sabotage by a “third party”.

He added Iran-China cooperation is becoming more and more mature. “We have a strong political will to move forward. Iran China cooperation can learn from China Pakistan cooperation,” said the scholar.

Executive Director IPI Professor Sajjad Bokhari said China-Iran agreement, once implemented, could alter the regional landscape in which there would be opportunities for all stakeholders in the neighborhood – though extra-regional actors may lose space to act here. He said the Pakistan government needs to prepare well to benefit from this opportunity.

He said resisting the US pressure in this regard may be difficult for Pakistan but certainly not new for Pakistan. “It is a welcome opportunity for Pakistan,” he said.

Professor Sajjad Bokhari asked the Pakistan government to complete Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project.

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