Imran Khan Meets Iran Envoy, Proposes Mediation

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan (R) talks with Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost in Islamabad on Saturday.Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan (R) talks with Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost in Islamabad on Saturday.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan Saturday said Pakistan is ready to play a constructive role between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Imran Khan, in a meeting with Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost, said Pakistan seeks trade ties with all neighboring countries, including Iran, Associate Press of Pakistan reported.

The PTI chief thanked the ambassador for the congratulatory message from President Hassan Rouhani.

He told the envoy that uplifting the national economy is  his top priority and expressed his desire to visit Iran and its historical sites.

Honardoost said Iran desires enhanced trade with Pakistan and the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project could help change Pakistan’s future.

Iran is willing to hold constructive talks with Pakistan on the long-delayed project, he told Khan.

***PTI Values Iran Ties

The spokesperson of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which is poised to form the next government in Pakistan after winning general elections, said his party values its relations with Iran and will strive to further strengthen ties.

In an talk with IRNA in Islamabad, PTI spokesperson Fawad Hussain Chaudhry, who is likely to become next information minister, said PTI chief Imran Khan had categorically stated in his first speech after his election victory that his government would like to have strong ties with Iran.

“It is a cultural relationship. We have very strong strategic ties; we have very strong religious ties. Iran is a very important country for Pakistan in many ways,” he said.

The PTI leader added there are some misconceptions in Iran-Pak ties, but “I think we can work together to remove those misconceptions.”

Chaudhry described Iran’s role in the Middle East as “very important”, adding that “Iran is a neighbor and I think we should resolve all issues through dialogue,” he said.

“Pakistan should realize that Iran is an important country so both countries need to work together for peace and stability in the region,” he viewed.

Commenting on PTI’s policy in Middle East, he said as far as the Middle East is concerned “we would like to offer ourselves, if possible, to help resolve the crises in the region.”

He said Imran Khan is a true Muslim and a true Pakistani so in that spirit he would like to help in finding solutions to the conflicts.

“Obviously we value our relations with Iran and it will further be strengthened” under Imran Khan’s watch,  he said.

***Economic Consideration

Chaudhry added that the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline and Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline (TAPI) are two important projects for Pakistan.

The two projects are on hold because of some political considerations, he said without elaboration.

 “Economic considerations must surpass political issues. The economy is more important for our people than politics.”

“We would like to work closely with Iran on the IP gas pipeline. likewise we also want TAPI to be completed as soon as possible,” he added noting that the US is a big hurdle to this end.

“We have already called on the US to review its Afghan policy and we would also like to tell the US to revise its Iran policy. [the US] must listen to the rest of the world,” he said.

The politician said the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement that the abandoned was important and should have been honored.

***Nuclear Deal

“It is regrettable that the agreement has not been honored [by the US] and I think wars are no solution to the problems, negotiations are the solution,” Fawad Hussain Chaudhry stressed.

 “I think that policy of US President Donald Trump is totally different from Obama’s policy and has been subjected to criticism not only in the world but also inside the US,” he said.

He said Trump’s policy is very aggressive and the world cannot afford such kinds of aggression from big powers.

According to the politician, since the US has a huge influence in the world, it is their duty to perform in a responsible manner in their policies and talks.

Chaudhry said European leaders and intelligentsia within the US are worried about Trump’s approach and “I think he needs to listen to them if he doesn’t listen to us.”

In May, Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal—formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—that was concluded before he took office, denouncing it as one-sided in Iran's favor. The agreement was signed between Iran, the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

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