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General

Iran stands high in Pakistan’s foreign policy: Minister

Islamabad, Pakistan Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari has said recent visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to Pakistan is very positive in making clear to the world that Pakistan regards its relationship with Iran as a very important part of its foreign policy.

In an interview with IRNA, she said Iran is a very important ally and neighbor of Pakistan and our ties are improving in all areas including defense sector.

She said that the visit of Iranian foreign minister went beyond this and of course there are lot of other issues that were discussed that was very significant.

It is very encouraging that Iranian foreign minister was the first foreign dignitary who came to meet the new leadership in Islamabad, that itself also shows the importance and significance Pakistan and Iran both place on their bilateral relations, she said.

She said that foreign minister Zarif's visit came at a very crucial time just before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit.

We think that this visit also signals increase in the cooperation between Iran and Pakistan and one of the big changes that have happened in recent times is the increasing military to military cooperation between Iran and Pakistan which was not there for a very long time, Dr Shireen Mazari said.

The minister added that for the first time Chief of Staff of Iranian Armed Forces after the Islamic Revolution visited Pakistan so that is a very good sign that civil and military leaderships are both at the same page and they all want to have more improved relations.

She said 'We support Iran's principled position on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). We think that the JCPOA had the support of all the international community and therefore nobody should try to unilaterally scrap this agreement.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader to a question said the women in Iran are very much part of the Islamic Revolution they were on the forefront of the revolution and therefore 'I see that women are increasingly finding more and more space for them in public sphere which I think is very encouraging.'

Dr Shireen Mazari to another question said: 'I spoke to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif when he was here about Pakistani prisoners in Iranian jails. I pointed out to him that Iran has changed its laws regarding drug crimes and therefore lot of Pakistani prisoners in Iranian prisons for drugs should now be dealt with under the new law and therefore death sentences can be commuted.

We requested him to look into the matter and he was very cooperative, we hope that as goodwill gesture the Iranian government will do something positive towards Pakistani prisoners, the minister said.

She was of the view that the European countries have given special assistance to Iran to counter the effects of the sanctions and we think that if China and Russia take the strong stand against the sanctions and help support countries like Iran and Pakistan in the economic cooperation, I think the sanctions will not have the impact that the American administration wants.

So I think it is upto the rest of the world to ensure that these sanctions which are not UN sanctions, which are contrary to international law, should not be allowed to succeed, said Dr Shireen Mazari.

She said: 'I have been to Iran many times . When I was heading Institute of Strategic Studies we used to have a meeting once a year in Islamabad and once a year in Tehran. I have also visited Mashhad, Qom and Isfahan also, she said.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA


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