ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Dr Reza Amiri Moghaddam on Wednesday emphasized the need for concerted efforts for the realization of the true potential of the economic opportunities to enhance bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iran to $ 5 billion.

The newly-arrived Iranian envoy was speaking at an event, organised by Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), titled “Iran-Pakistan Relations in the new era.”

Ambassador Moghaddam underscored the need for converting the borders from “security-centric prism” to one dealing with trade and commerce.

Referring to the brotherly ties of cordiality on the basis of religion and geography, he added that both countries are also linked in terms of culture and a lot more.

“There is a lot that both the countries can do, especially in an era of geo-economics,” he said.

About the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as well as Gwadar Port of Pakistan and Iran’s Chahbahar Port, the envoy said that both Gwadar and Chahbahar Ports are interlinked in terms of commerce and development, and “there is no element of conflict.”

He pointed out that both countries do not have a territorial dispute, and the disgruntled elements on the border areas should be tackled with a joint strategy.

He also underscored the need for peace, especially in Afghanistan, and hinted that the relationship with Pakistan is not in competition with any other country in the region.

He added that a new “World Order” is emerging, and it is going to have multiple poles of power. He said that the SCO and BRICS as new realities, and the myth of military dominance is eroding.

He noted that culture and politics are making inroads in state-centric relations, and there is no looking back in building a new paradigm of multilateralism.

He dispelled the impression that fossil fuels are coming to an end, and the new technology will be free from oil and gas. Whereas, he added that the demand of fossil fuels is on the rise, and prices will also keep going up as there is demand for the utilities.

He stressed for greater cooperation between 400 million people of Iran, Turkey, and Pakistan in realising the ECO, and said that it is the gateway to Europe and beyond in terms of people-to-people contacts, trade, and tourism.

Moghaddam noted that despite so much effort the volume of trade between the two countries is dismal. Presently, the trade is close to $ 2 billion, and estimates say that it should be somewhere around $ 5 billion.

He added that in the recent meeting between foreign ministers of the two countries, it has been agreed to increase the trade volume up to $ 5 billion in the coming years.

About the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, he said that the Iranian side has completed the work on its side and fulfilled the promises, adding that the relevant ministers of the two countries have agreed to complete the project.

He underscored the need for fighting extremism and observed that Western culture and their attitude of upholding man-made laws over divine teachings is at the root cause of sacrilegious acts.

He talked about the potential of tourism and border markets and hinted at promoting them.

Moghaddam said that Iran will not accept any hegemony of outside powers, and said that the nuclear deal signed with the United States was sabotaged for reasons of arrogance and irrationality on the part of “an unstable man”.

He said that Iran has no plans to develop a nuclear bomb, and said that its atomic programme is for peaceful purposes in the realms of health and technology.

To a question about Indian spy Kulbushan Yadav, he said, “When spies come covertly to a country they are caught also and that is centuries old phenomenon. Iran would never allow its territory for espionage against Pakistan.”

President IPRI Amb Dr Raza Muhammad welcomed the chief guest and hoped that cooperation in terms of research will be a hallmark in times to come. He was receptive to the idea of more interaction among scholars and researchers to harness renewed studies and cooperation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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Zafar Aug 24, 2023 01:56pm
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