TEHRAN: President Hassan Rohani of the Islamic Republic of Iran has reiterated his country’s unflinching support and friendship to Pakistan, terming it a “trusted brother”. In a Message received from Iran, he made these remarks during his meeting with the Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and the members of his delegation here in Tehran. The over one hour meeting with President Rohani was termed as “President’s special gesture for Pakistan” given the fact that Presidential elections have been announced in Iran and President Rohani came specially for this meeting from his critical election campaign. Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq stressed Pakistan’s policy of unity among the Muslim World and assured President Rohani that Pakistan would never take any step that could go against the interests of the brotherly country of Iran. “Our region is worst affected by terrorism. We must pool our resources to jointly curb this menace, which is not only affecting our progress but also threatening our future generations,” explained Speaker Ayaz Sadiq. While referring to the recent news reports on the brutalities of Indian Forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, Speaker asked Iran to play its role in the early implementation on the United Nations Security Council Resolutions for the prompt settlement of the Kashmir dispute as per the wishes of the Kashmiri People. He also thanked the President for Iran’s continued support to Pakistan on Kashmir issue. He also stressed on the Iranian President to turn the fraternal relations between the two neighbouring countries into a mutually benefiting partnership. The Speaker called for enhancing the trade volume, which currently stands at a considerably low level of mere USD 500 Million. “The two countries have immense potential and can help each other in areas like energy, petroleum products, agriculture, citrus and fruit trade, surgical equipment and defence,” said AyazSadiq. He laid emphasis on lifting of tariff and non-tariff barriers on Pakistani products such as rice and citrus.
President Rohani, while agreeing with the Speaker, stated that the two countries should take benefit of the complementarities enjoyed by the two countries and forge cooperation where they can benefit from each-other’s comparative advantage. He showed immense interest in Iran’s joining the CPEC. Both sides expressed satisfaction on the recently concluded banking agreement, which would pave the way for expanded bilateral trade between the two countries through the banking channels. The Bilateral Payment agreement (BPA) was signed between Iran and Pakistan last week in Tehran. The two leaders also took stock of the advancements in the completion of Iran-Pakistan Gas pipeline. The Speaker informed that from the Pakistani side, it was taken up on priority as work on Nawabshah-Gawadar section is in the process, which would then be linked from Gawadar to Iran. The project was likely to be completed in two years. President Rohani, on his part, conveyed his warm wishes to Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif and the people of Pakistan and hoped that both nations would come further closer in near future. Iranian President was introduced to the Pakistani delegation comprising MNAs, Mr.Shahbaz Babar, Mr. Najaf Sial, Mr.Nadeem Abbas Rabhera, Mr. Ali Gohar Khan Mehr, Syed Ayaz Ali Shah Sherazi, Mr.Khyal Zaman Orakzai and Saman Sultana Jafari.