Pakistan, Iran to strengthen ties: Maleeha

Pakistan, Iran to strengthen ties: Maleeha

"We offered to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor".

He also repeated Iran's commitment that it would not allow India to carry out any activities against Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Zarif has invited Pakistan to participate in the Chabahar Port project that connects India to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, a leading Pakistani daily reported on Tuesday.

Tehran had also expressed willingness to improve ties with Saudi Arabia when Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Iran during the Yemen crisis, but the Kingdom's response was not warm, according to Mohammad Javad Zarif. Zarif said, "There is no reason for hostility between Iran and Saudi Arabia". To underline this, he pointed to Pakistan's relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran's single major foreign policy irritant in its neighbourhood.

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Earlier on Sunday, former Pakistani Minister of Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan told the Iranian media that Zarif's visit to Islamabad will have an important role in opening up a new chapter on the two countries' sustainable relations and clear up certain misunderstandings on regional and global issues.

Gwadar is a key part of the multi-billion dollar CPEC, a flagship project of China's Belt and Road Initiative that has been opposed by India as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

He said Iran has also extended invitation to China to join the Chabahar project. These regions need to be linked by sea and land routes, he said. "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". Iran's handing of the port's operational control to India was disappointing for Pakistan and taking part in Chabahar may engender problems moving forward.

In this context, India's not likely to be pleased with the Iranian foreign minister's comments.

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