Jul 18, 2021, 3:59 PM
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New gov't in Iran and its prospects for Pakistan

Islamabad, IRNA -- The Institute for Strategic Studies Islamabad, the official think tank of Pakistan has called the recent election in Iran and the formation of a new government an opportunity for Pakistan to develop cooperation and achieving common interests.

Researchers from the Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East and Africa (CMEA) in their recently published research analysis entitled "Elections in Iran and Prospects for Pakistan" said Tehran and Islamabad play an important role in regional peace and partnership with other regional powers to maintain the balance of power.

They said Ebrahim Raisi has been elected as the President of Iran on June 18, 2021. The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei appreciated the people of Iran and called the Election Day as a victory day over defeating the ill-wishes and propaganda of enemies by just casting their votes.

The analysis said on the economic front, the President-elect is expected to introduce some structural economic reforms (most probably adopting redistributive welfare and poverty alleviation strategies).

In addition, despite possible revival of the JCPOA, Iran looks towards China and Russia for high level economic, defence and diplomatic bailout. This will further distance Iran from the West.

They said the 13th government in Iran will continue to face the consequences of US and Western economic sanctions. But it seems that the future government of the Islamic Republic will not be afraid of external pressures.

Raisi is expected to work to strengthen the ideals of the revolution and the regional position of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran's new president has announced that his government will make every effort to improve relations with neighboring countries and the region.

On the Middle East front, Raisi will call for stronger engagement with his partners, including Iraq and Syria, while increasing the Islamic Republic of Iran's deterrence against Israel.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan congratulated the President-elect and expressed wishes for working together to promote regional peace, progress and prosperity. Both Iran and Pakistan have many common areas of interest, which include; enhancing bilateral trade volume, increasing border security, facilitating peace in Afghanistan and tackling the issue of Islamophobia globally.

At the same time, both countries face common challenges, such as; US pressure against Iran-Pakistan bilateral trade, connectivity and building cross border energy infrastructure; general negative impact of US-China rivalry on bilateral economic partnership with China etc.

Pakistan needs to engage the new leadership of Iran carefully, because it will remain under observation of many. In the light of the above scenario, some of the prospects for Pakistan are mentioned below.

New gov't in Iran and its prospects for Pakistan

**Peace of Afghanistan, Tehran-Islamabad common concern

The researcher said both Iran and Pakistan are not only immediate neighbours of Afghanistan, but the peace, progress and prosperity is also associated with the presence of these elements in Afghanistan. So, quick US-withdrawal, deadlock in intra-Afghan dialogue and finding a political solution for bringing peace in Afghanistan, are primary desires of both countries.

Further, both countries are not only at the same page at regional level, but also welcome the great powers like China and Russia to get involve for filling the great power vacuum through engaging them in a multilateral framework for bringing enduring peace not only in Afghanistan, but also in the region.

Massive Chinese investment in both countries further opens the doors of connectivity, gives opportunities for enhancing bilateral trade, and stresses upon progress over gas pipeline and oil supply for meeting energy needs.

Further, the progress of CPEC projects, materialization of recently signed China-Iran deal, and more translation of BRI vision of China in the region, will ultimately push these countries to have meaningful trilateral economic framework for prosperity. The existing economic situations in both countries and uniformed target realization of the leadership are waiting for multiple relevant engagements.

Increasing needs of addressing the border security and border management, and some countries’ involvement for spoiling brotherly relations through terror financing of insurgents in Balochistan province, will rightly get attention of leadership in both countries to tackle these issues on priority basis by strengthening bilateral relations.

Pakistan and Iran must activate intergovernmental organizations of Muslim countries such as; Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Economic Cooperation Organization, Developing-8 etc. for not only protecting their own national interests, but for serving the long term interest of Muslim Ummah.

They said change of government in Iran will never affect Tehran and Islamabad's option of countering baseless propaganda and international pressure, and the two countries must use peaceful means to remove obstacles to advancing cooperation.

Researchers said that Iran and Pakistan should put effective diplomatic engagement with major regional and economic powers on the agenda to secure national and common interests.

The Pakistani Foreign Minister, who met with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomatic Assembly in Turkey a day after the 13th Iranian presidential election, congratulated Iran on the successful holding of the presidential election.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi also congratulated the Iranian government and people during a meeting with the Special Representative of the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran for Afghanistan in Islamabad earlier this month.

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