Updated Mar 14, 2018 07:27am

Iran repeats offer to meet energy needs

Imran Ayub

KARACHI: Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Javad Zarif on Tuesday reiterated his offer for meeting Pakistan’s electricity demand calling his country a “reliable source” for its neighbour to get energy resources.

Addressing a ceremony organised by Iran-Pakistan Business Forum as a part of 70-year celebrations of diplomatic ties, Mr Zarif called the two countries “emotionally” attached and emphasised the need to exploit the huge potential of bilateral trade and investment.

“Iran was the first country to recognise Pakistan as an independent country. It’s time to cultivate this relationship to exploit the huge potential of trade and investment on both sides of the border. To achieve this objective, we need to increase interaction both at the government and private levels.”

Dr Zarif, accompanied by a large trade delegation from Iran, had arrived on a three-day visit to Pakistan on Monday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Pak-Iran diplomatic relations.

As part of his engagement during the three-day visit, the Iranian foreign minister held meetings with prominent businessmen of Pakistan on Tuesday and highlighted the economic potential of Iran and the opportunities for joint ventures with other countries.

“Iran is always ready to help Pakistan meet its electricity demand to a great extent,” he said, while recalling the number of advantages his country offered for Pakistan’s economy and businessmnen. “Iran can be a reliable source for Pakistan to get gas and electricity. We are very much capable to produce as much electricity as Pakistan wants. I personally feel both the governments would have to sit together to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers, simplify the customs procedures and re-establish a banking channel after lifting of sanctions on Iran, speedy execution of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, signing of Free Trade Agreement, etc.”

He said that businessmen from both countries could strike deals in sectors like energy, science and technology, infrastructure, chemicals and human resources development.

Dr Zarif also lauded the forum, calling it a ‘bridge that could bring the people of two sides closer’.

Earlier, while addressing the forum, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah invited Iranian businessmen for investment in the province, mainly in Thar coal projects, wind and solar energy sector and infrastructure.

“Sindh offers phenomenal scope to investors, and over the years, massive development in energy sector proves this fact. By the next year, we would be producing 660MW electricity from coal in Thar. Similarly, renewable energy projects in Thatta, Jamshoro and Sukkur offer a great opportunity to the investors,” he said.

Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2018

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