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Iran willing to expand cooperation with Pakistan in all areas: Envoy

Islamabad, Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan reaffirms Iran's commitment to expand cooperation with Pakistan in areas of mutual interest, including trade.

In an interview with SAHAR TV. Channel, Mehdi Honardoost said that Iran and Pakistan are tied in eternal bond of friendship which will further strengthen in future.

He said that people in Iran keenly observe developments in Pakistan and we are happy that democratic process is continuing in Pakistan.

While congratulating Pakistan Tekreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Chairman Imran Khan over his party's victory in general elections of the country, he said that Iran is ready for promoting and enhancing relations with the new government in Pakistan.

He added that Iran desires strong multi-dimensional ties with Pakistan.

The ambassador said that Imran Khan is a wise leader and is fully aware of the importance of ties with Iran.

He was of the view that in current scenario when different regional and international developments are taking place, Iran and Pakistan should cooperate with each other as they have common interests.

Mehdi Honardoost said that strong ties between Iran and Pakistan are in the interest of both the countries. He said that Iran and Pakistan share long border and since the creation of Pakistan way back in 1947 Iran and Pakistan have been enjoying strong ties.

The ambassador said that Iran and Pakistan through their close cooperation can solve regional problems. Future of our friendship with Pakistan is bright, he said.

He went on to say that last month's visit of Iranian Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri to Pakistan has opened a new chapter of cooperation between Tehran and Islamabad. He said that visit shows that Iran and Pakistan ties are improving rapidly.

He added that trade between Iran and Pakistan is also improving and has increased from $500 million to over US $1.3 billion in the last two years; however, the bilateral trade can be enhanced further.

The envoy noted that despite the lack of banking channel between Iran and Pakistan, trade is improving which is very encouraging. He said the both countries have already agreed to raise the volume of bilateral trade to US $5 billion.

Mehdi Honardoost noted that economies of Iran and Pakistan are complementary to each other. He said that Pakistan is facing energy issues whereas Iran has surplus energy and can easily help Pakistan to overcome its energy woes.

We can help Pakistan to improve its economic situation, he said.

He went on to refer to the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project, saying the project is very important for Pakistan and it can bring change to the country's economy.

The IP can help Pakistan to overcome its energy needs, he said, adding that despite an investment of two billion dollars by Iran, the project has not still been completed.

He added that IP when completed would create more jobs. He hoped that the project would be completed during the tenure of next government in Pakistan.

The ambassador said Iran and Pakistan share common concerns regarding the issue of terrorism and extremism. He said that sometimes terrorists carry out their activities at Pak-Iran border which is not in the interest of both Iran and Pakistan.

He said that drug smuggling is also another threat which Iran and Pakistan share.

After the US attacked Afghanistan, the drug traffickers became more active and posed a direct threat against the youth of Iran and Pakistan, he said. Mehdi Honardoost said that both countries should enhance their cooperation to save their youth from the menace of drugs.

He said that Iran and Pakistan have very effective joint border management mechanism and their close cooperation would help maintaining peace on border which is border of peace in true sense.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA

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