Mar 3, 2021, 6:47 PM
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US sanctions must be lifted, plan to isolate Tehran doomed to fail: Pakistan MP

Islamabad, March 3, IRNA -- Senior Pakistani politician and the head of Pakistan-Iran parliamentary friendship group in Senate while criticizing the approach of West, including the United States to resolve differences with Tehran says "we will never support any plan aimed at isolating the Islamic Republic of Iran and such negative actions are doomed to fail".

In an exclusive interview with IRNA on Wednesday, Senator Lieutenant General (retd) Abdul Qayyum described Iran and Pakistan as two important neighbors and powerful partners in the region, adding that Pakistan's relations with the West or some Middle Eastern countries will never be at the cost of our important relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Abdul Qayyum is a prominent observer of defense and security affairs. He entered the world of politics in 2012, and in 2015, as the representative of the Muslim League-Nawaz party, he won the Senate elections.

He retired as Lieutenant General in December 2004 and later headed Pakistan Steel Mill for two years.

Senator Abdul Qayyum Khan made several trips to Iran as Chairman of Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF). He also represented Pakistan at the meeting of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) Standing Committee on Political Affairs in 2019 in Isfahan.

He added: "We have told Westerners, including the United States, that Pakistan supports constructive and reciprocal relations with them, but these relations will never be at the cost of relations with two powerful countries and Pakistan's neighbors, Iran or China."

**future of Iran-Pakistan relations is bright

The head of the Iran-Pakistan parliamentary friendship group in the Senate said Iran and Pakistan have a superior position in the region in terms of geography.

He added that the existence of maritime capacities and ports, including Gwadar and Chabahar, especially Iran's position in the Persian Gulf, can facilitate the path of joint trade and facilitate regional economic activities.

He noted some parties are trying to create misunderstanding between Iran and Pakistan by intensifying sectarian differences, but "we must be aware of these moves".

Senator Abdul Qayyum said that the development of trade between Iran and Pakistan is inevitable. "Of course, we have issues in money exchange and the financial sector but we can solve them."

He stressed the need to implement joint projects between Iran and Pakistan to supply the goods needed by each other and said companies from both countries should be encouraged for joint projects, investment in various fields, including infrastructure development.

The representative of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz called for the strengthening of road, rail, and sea links with Iran adding that it would also facilitate pilgrims from Pakistan to Iran.

"We are two neighboring countries and brothers therefore the level of interaction between the two nations should be expanded by increasing the exchange of students, cooperation in the field of higher education, development of relations between military, strengthening defense and security cooperation,” added the Senator.

Abdul Qayyum said there is a need to identify the factors that strengthen the relationship as much as possible through ongoing consultations and to formulate a common policy. “In this regard, increasing the exchange of sports delegations should also be considered due to Iran's excellent position in football and Pakistan's ability in cricket,” he pointed out.

**Pakistani military leaders support stronger ties with Iran

Abdul Qayyum who has served in the army for 36 years, described the exchange of high-level military delegations between Iran and Pakistan in recent years as encouraging adding that Pakistani military leaders, including Army Chief General Qmar Javed Bajwa, support further strengthening of ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

He stated: We are witnessing the advancement of the plan to fence our common borders with Iran. "This reflects the two countries' determination to meet common security challenges at the borders. Border fencing is very important and coordination and cooperation is expected to continue on both sides of the border,” he added.

**Biden must keep his promises/lifting of sanctions is legitimate demand of Iran

The head of Iran-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Group says the continuation of unilateral and oppressive US sanctions against the Iranian nation is contrary to international law and against the spirit of the UN Charter, adding that world powers should not challenge the sovereignty of nations.

“Sanctions on Iran have put pressure on even other countries such as South Korea,” he said.

Senator Abdul Qayyum said that anti-Iranian sanctions, whose destructive effects have intensified, especially during the corona outbreak, should be lifted, and that Biden should keep his promises to compromise with Tehran and return to the JCPOA.

He added that the Iranian nation has suffered a lot of cruel acts and we are proud of their resistance especially to the challenge of sanctions. “We can say with confidence that any attempt to isolate Iran, both regionally and globally, is doomed to failure, and Pakistan will never join such plans,” he stated.

"Iran is a great and civilized country with which we are proud to be a neighbor," he said.

He went on to say the historic and close ties between the people of the two countries indicate a long-standing friendship and inseparable interactions, and we will never forget Iran's cooperation and assistance to Pakistan in difficult times.

Qayyum said: We welcome any action of the Biden government to resolve US disputes with Iran, but at the same time we believe that the Islamic Republic must be vigilant and tactful because Americans are always defending the interests of the Zionist regime in the region and this usurper regime always plays a destructive role.

**Lifting of sanctions should be the first condition for returning to the JCPOA

The senior added the lifting of US sanctions is a legitimate demand of Iran, and first, these sanctions must be lifted and the economic blockade of Tehran must end in order to pave the way for a return to JCPOA obligations.

He called on the Biden administration to lift sanctions on Iran and return to the nuclear deal to ensure that, like the previous Trump administration, his administration or future US administrations do not undermine or unilaterally withdraw from an international agreement.

**Enemies of the unity of Islam oppose the end of the Yemeni war

He referred to the history of Western countries in violating human rights in other countries or the unilateral US actions to invade countries under various pretexts, including the destruction of so-called weapons of mass destruction, adding enemies of Islamic unity never support the end of the Yemeni war and they seek to intensify differences between Islamic powers, including Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Welcoming the readiness of the Islamic Republic of Iran to help resolve the Yemeni crisis and the need to end operations in Yemen, he added Tehran and Riyadh must engage to help end the Yemeni war.

Regarding the situation in Afghanistan and the joint role of Iran and Pakistan in contributing to peace and stability in the country, Senator Abdul Qayyum said: "We must ensure that the land of Afghanistan is not used against Iran or Pakistan."

He stressed the role of the Islamic Republic of Iran to help establish peace in Afghanistan should not be ignored. “Kabul government must also make effective efforts to connect with the Taliban as a force that can contribute to the future of the country,” he viewed.

The Pakistani senator also stressed the need for a fair and responsible withdrawal of the United States and other foreign forces from Afghanistan to prevent any civil war in the country.

**Iran, Pakistan oppose compromise plan and support Palestinians

Praising the position of the Islamic Republic of Iran in support of the oppressed nations, including Muslims in Palestine and Kashmir, Senator Abdul Qayyum said Israel is an occupier and illegal regime and until the rights of the Palestinian people are guaranteed there is no question of recognizing Israel.

He added: The nations of Palestine and Kashmir are not only fighting for their right to freedom and independence but in recent years they have even been fighting for their survival.

“In Pakistan, we will not compromise with a regime that oppresses nations, and we will never leave the front to oppose these occupying regimes,” he added.

272**2050

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