Iran has said it is ready to connect Pakistan’s Gwadar port with the port of Chabahar to promote trade and commerce in the region.
The proposal was presented by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who met with Pakistan’s military and civilian leaders in Islamabad on Friday.
“I have come here with a proposal for the government of Pakistan for the connection between Chabahar and Gwadar … We believe that Chabahar and Gwadar can complement each other,” Zarif said during a meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
“We can connect Chabahar and Gwadar, and then through that connection, we connect Gwadar to our entire rail system, from Iran to the Northern Corridor, through Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, and also through Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey.”
Iran, India and Afghanistan signed a trilateral transit agreement in Tehran in May 2016, which allows the three countries to open new routes of connection by converting the port of Chabahar into a transit center.
The port of Chabahar, only about 100 kilometers from the border with Pakistan and located in the Indian Ocean, is the largest in Iran outside the Gulf.
It is also the only Iranian port with exemptions from economic sanctions reimposed by the United States in 2018.
Meanwhile, Pakistan urged Tehran and the United States to refrain from escalating the conflict.
Zarif, who landed in Islamabad on Thursday night, held separate meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Zarif and Prime Minister Imran discussed bilateral relations between Iran and Pakistan at a meeting that was also attended by Qureshi.
The purpose of Zarif’s visit to Pakistan was not made public, says the Associated Press, reporting that there has been speculation that Iran is seeking Islamabad and its close relationship with Riyadh to help reduce the situation.
Before the arrival of Zarif, the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan called on “all parties to show restraint, since any ill-calculated movement can transmute into a large-scale conflict.”
In his meeting with General Bajwa at the General Headquarters, matters of mutual interest and the evolution of the situation in the region during the meeting were discussed.
The army chief said the war was of no interest to anyone and that all parties should make efforts to keep the conflict away from the region, said a statement issued by the army media wing.
During the delegation-level talks held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qureshi assured the Iranian counterpart of Pakistan’s reconciliation efforts to ensure peace in the region.
In addition, he said that dialogue is the only way to resolve disputes, since the conflict will not benefit any of the parties. Noting the growing tension between Iran and the US UU., He reiterated that all interested parties should show tolerance, since the regional tension did not interest anyone.
He said Pakistan wants all pending issues to be resolved through diplomatic engagement and said that interested parties must show patience and tolerance.
Zarif assured Qureshi that Iran “gives value” to Islamabad’s efforts to establish peace in the region.
Both parties expressed their satisfaction with the implementation of the decisions taken during the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran to Iran and agreed to continue cooperation on bilateral issues.
The Iranian Foreign Minister also met with the President of the National Assembly, Qaiser, where the two stressed the importance of promoting bilateral relations between Pakistan and Iran.
Qaiser insisted that joint efforts were needed to eliminate terrorism in the region. He added that friendly relations with Iran were essential for the prosperity of the people of both countries.
Zarif said Iran values its “historic” relations with Pakistan, adding that both countries have a similar perspective on several issues. In addition, he said that Tehran considered Islamabad as its “partner” to establish peace in the region. He stressed the need to promote economic trade relations.
Zarif, on his arrival in Islamabad, told IRNA that Tehran seeks stronger ties with Islamabad and that “developing strong relations with our immediate neighbors is at the top of Iranian foreign policy.”
He also lashed out at US President Donald Trump for his tweet earlier this week, which warned Iran not to threaten the United States again or face its “official end.”
“Iran will see the end of Trump, but he will never see the end of Iran,” Zarif was quoted as saying by the Iranian semi-official news agency Fars when he arrived in Pakistan.
Tensions have recently increased in the Middle East when the White House earlier this month sent a B-52 aircraft carrier and bombers to the region for an as yet unexplained threat it perceived from Iran.
And on Thursday, the Pentagon submitted proposals to the White House to send military reinforcements to the Middle East to bolster defenses against Iran.