Iran, Pakistan look to the future

Cultural and religious affinities have linked Iran and Pakistan as to neighbors. Politically, the two countries also share common views toward many regional and international issues and the two sides have been pushing for settling regional conflicts through dialogue.

In addition to having an embassy in Islamabad, Iran has four consulates in four Pakistani cities including Lahore. Likewise, in addition to its Tehran embassy, Pakistan has also established consulates in the Iranian cities of Mashhad and Zahedan.

Ali Ahmadi, an expert on Pakistan, says, “Except a time that Taleban ruled Afghanistan in which some Iranian diplomats wee martyred, Iran-Pakistan relations have always been friendly and currently it is improving.”

Iranian nation will also remember with good memory Pakistan’s strong support for a peaceful resolution of Iran’s nuclear issue within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency and an insistence on Tehran’s legitimate right for a peaceful use of nuclear technology.

Economically, the two countries enjoy great potential for cooperation and they seem determined to develop their economic ties.

The plan to pipe Iran’s gas to India via Pakistan is considered the “pearl” of relations between Tehran and Islamabad.

Confidence-building measures taken by Pakistan and India have made the prospect of implementing the 7-billion dollar project very promising.

Fortunately, the plan has come to act as a dynamic stimulus to melt ice in Pakistan-India relations. It was because of a planned project that a trilateral meeting took place between Iran, Pakistan and India.

Iran and Pakistan have also taken good steps in securing common borders and they have established a common security committee which meets every six months in Tehran and Islamabad.

Iran-Pakistan relations are stable and a change in political leadership will not cause a change in relations. For example, although parties opposed to President Parvez Musharraf emerged victorious in recent National Assembly elections the relations between the two sides will remain as friendly as ever.

Political analysts believe that Iran has good relations with all parties in Pakistan, and the reason is that any party which takes the helm in Pakistan will not change its principled policy toward Iran.

In their meetings with Iranian officials Pakistani party leaders have insisted that Islamabad’s position toward Iran is unchangeable.

Iran has also been following a principled and stable policy toward Pakistan.

In a recent wave of terrorist attacks in Pakistan which also took the life of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto Iran announced that it considered security woes in Pakistan as a threat to its interests and sent its foreign minister to Islamabad to express Tehran’s sympathy toward Pakistani nation and government over the tragic death of the former prime minister.

Iran-Pakistan is time-tested and they have been at each other’s side at difficult times. For example, when a massive quake struck northern Pakistan, Iran rushed to help Pakistani people.

Centuries-old friendship between the two nations, economic potentials, and common regional worries and interests will automatically push Iran and Pakistan as the two important countries to look for stronger ties in the future.

(Mar. 18 Tehran Times Opinion Column, by Parviz Esmaeili)

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