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Relations with India not to hurt Iran-Pakistan ties: envoy

Updated August 16, 2016

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PESHAWAR: Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost calls on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra on Monday.—APP
PESHAWAR: Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost calls on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra on Monday.—APP

PESHAWAR: Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost has said that his country is ready to provide all possible support to Pakistan in the war against terrorism and for the development of its economy.

Talking to media personnel at the Iranian consulate here on Monday, the ambassador said that ties between Iran and India wouldn’t put any negative impact on relations between Pakistan and Iran.

“Iran’s agreements with India on the Chabahar port will never affect relations between Iran and Pakistan,” he said.

India and Iran signed an agreement in May under which the former would build and operate the Chabahar port closed to Pakistan’s Gwadar port.

Mr Honardoost said terror incidents in Pakistan disturbed Iranians too. He said Chabahar and Gwadar ports would prove to be game-changers in the region’s economic development.

The ambassador held meetings with representatives of the business community, Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar and other officials in Peshawar.

He said President Hassan Rohani would visit Pakistan in March to discuss bilateral ties and promotion of cooperation between the two countries.

Answering a question, the ambassador said though a free trade agreement between the two neighbours did not exist, there were great chances of free trade in near future. He said Iran had huge deposits of mineral resources and Pakistan could take benefit of these.

He said Iran was ready to provide gas and electricity to Pakistan and assist it in other projects. Negotiations between the two countries on some projects were in progress, he added.

Mr Honardoost said that Tehran had explained its position over the arrest of Indian citizen Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is in the custody of Pakistani agencies on spying charges, and the killing of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a drone attack in Balochistan.

“If Pakistan has any reservations on any issue, Iran is ready to remove its reservations,” the envoy said, adding that completion of gas pipeline on Iran’s side proved that his country believed in social and economic prosperity in Pakistan.

About the situation in Balochistan, he said the province shared a long border with Afghanistan and there were some issues that created hurdles in handling the situation there.

APP adds: Mr Honardoost called on Governor Jhagra at Governor House on Monday and discussed with him matters of mutual interest. The governor highlighted the importance of various prospects for further promotion of relations between the two countries.

Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2016