Iran’s doctrine of “neighbors first” in region’s interest: Pakistani expert

Islamabad, IRNA -- Director of a Pakistani think tank, Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies stressing the importance of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's recent visit to Islamabad said it reflected Iran’s doctrine of “neighbors first” which is in the interest of whole region.

Muhammad Asif Nur in an article published in English newspaper ‘Daily Times’ said Foreign Minister of Iran was in Islamabad for a two-day official visit during which he met with the top brass of Pakistan, including Prime Minister, President, Foreign Minister and Chief of Army Staff apart from having a public talk at Ministry of Foreign Affair's think tank.

The aim of the visit was to discuss and build trust and ties on the regular basis on the issues of bilateral and regional nature, including security and economics.

He added that the visit was not only to renew the trust, but also to build the reciprocal trade and border cooperation between both countries lingered for quite some time.

“It’s the fourth time that Foreign Minister of Iran was here in Islamabad reflecting the significance that Iran place on its relations with Pakistan especially as an important neighbor,” noted the analyst.

**US developments and the visit

Asif Nur said the visit was important as there is a tumultuous change happening in Washington after the historic elections where Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, after beating Donald Trump, are ready to set foot forth to lead world’s super power. 

However, how would the new outlook of US will work towards the politics in Middle East and how that Washington’s policy might be towards Iran, time will tell.

He added before leaving for Pakistan, Zarif tweeted about the significance of neighbors regardless of outside powers or intrusions, neighbors remain the same signaling towards Pakistan, Afghanistan and others.

The analyst went on to say global and regional milieu is changing clearly and Pakistan needs to play its card right, especially in the grand global chessboard with carefully formulating the policy to have comfortable political and economic benefits.

He said the arrival of Zarif to Islamabad reflects Iran’s doctrine of “neighbors first” came in a time when hawkish Donald Trump will no longer be in the office. Trump's departure has brought new hopes to the government in Iran to restructure Iran’s nuclear issue and economic sanctions.

Asif Nur said the visit is also important in the backdrop of the fact that several middle eastern and Persian Gulf States are being to warm the ties with Zionist regime. “Iran is seeking new option to mitigate the Zionist influence in the region to build Iran’s national interests in the region. Both Iran and Pakistan do not recognize Zionist regime and consider this illegitimate,” the expert said.

**Iran has always been a priority in Pakistan's foreign policy

The director of the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies said with a neighbor sharing 959 Km long border, Pakistan should be playing carefully in keeping all the options and through a balanced approach be that the question of US-Iran tensions, Afghanistan situation, China-US strained relations or Persian Gulf tensions.

“There might be pressures and jolts on the way however Pakistan needs to keep in mind that we can change your friends, but we cannot change our neighbors. Iran will always remain significant in foreign policy priorities of Pakistan,” he said.

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