Tuesday, 12 December, 2017

Iran offers Pakistan to join Chabahar port deal

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A day after Pakistan said it was considering linking Gwadar with Chabahar harbour, Iran said the former could join the agreement.

On Monday, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a three-way transit accord as New Delhi and Tehran inked an agreement worth $500 million to develop the Chabahar port.

“[The] Chabahar agreement is not limited to three countries. Doors are always open for Pakistan and other regional nations to join the deal,” said Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardost.

The envoy was delivering a keynote address on Pakistan-Iran relations at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).

Iranian ambassador Mehdi Honardoost addressing a seminar on “Pakistan-Iran relations” at Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad on Friday. PHOTO: APP

The envoy said there was no rivalry between Chahbahar port of Iran and Gwadar port of Pakistan. “In fact, both these ports complement each other,” he insisted.

Honardost went on to say that Pakistan and China were offered to join the Chahbahar port development deal before India. However, both Pakistan and China did not show any interest, he added.

Regional cooperation, he said, was the only solution to solve the problems and remove impediments among the neighbours.

On Thursday, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan was considering to link the two ports and added that Pakistan was also constructing a road to Chabahar.

Once completed, the port will provide India access to Afghanistan and Central Asia bypassing Pakistan.

India is believed to be increasingly upset over the development of Gwadar port by China under CPEC with independent observers suggesting Chabahar could come out as a rival in future.

Meanwhile, reiterating the country’s stance on Afghan chief Mullah Mansour’s death, the ambassador said Iran considered Taliban as its enemy and could not allow them to visit the country.

The US media had reported American intelligence agencies tracked down Mullah Mansour when he was visiting Iran to meet his family.

The Iranian envoy also said his country would not allow its soil to be used against Pakistan in any way.

Honardoost stressed terrorism was an international phenomenon and both Iran and Pakistan were victims of terror and drug trafficking.

The Express Tribune

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