The Nation: Supreme Leader and President regard Pak-Iran ties as the top priority and have directed the foreign ministry to work on achieving the goal, a senior Iranian official said.
Dr Mohammed Ajam, minister counsellor of the Iranian foreign ministry, told The Nation that Tehran was making all efforts to remove misunderstandings between the two Muslim-majority nations.
“We believe Pakistan is under the US pressure not to come too close to Iran. Pakistan should not link Pak-Iran ties to Pak-US relations. Pakistan is a sovereign country and can have equally good ties with several countries,” he maintained. He said: “Iran and Pakistan share interests. If and when our leadership is invited to visit Pakistan , we will not delay it (the visit). The rehbar (the Supreme Leader) and the president think Iran-Pakistan ties should be the top priority. We always work to retain friendship with Pakistan . This is in accordance with the directions of the top leadership .”
On Friday, President Rouhani, who is on a visit to India, urged all Muslims to set aside internal disputes. “Iran wants unity, independence and support for the East. The enemies of Islam want to represent Islam as a religion of violence. Islam is not a religion of violence. Islam is a religion of moderation, Islam is a religion of kindness,” he said.
Pakistan has lifted sanctions against Iran after the country’s nuclear deal with world powers. In 2016, Pakistan was active to ease Iran-Saudi Arabia tensions after the latter executed 47 people on terrorism charges including Nimr al-Nimr, a Shia religious leader, and Fares Al-Shuwail Al-Zahrani, a convicted Al-Qaeda leader.
Nimr’s execution had spurred Iranian demonstrators into ransacking the Saudi embassy in Tehran, prompting several Saudi allies to break off diplomatic ties with Iran.
Pakistan and Iran are hoping to complete the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project soon to resolve Pakistan’s energy crisis. The IP pipeline project – also called Peace Pipeline – is aimed at constructing a pipeline from Iran’s South Pars fields in the Persian Gulf to Pakistan’s major cities of Karachi and Multan.
The pipeline can carry 110 million cubic meters of gas a day. Iran will initially transfer ۳۰ million cubic meters of gas per day to Pakistan , but will eventually increase the gas transfer to 60 million cubic meters per day.
Pakistan and Iran are economic partners. This cooperation lasted throughout the cold war, with Iran supporting Pakistan in its conflicts with arch-rival, India. In return, Pakistan supported Iran militarily during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.
Recent difficulties have included disputes over trade and political position. While Pakistan ‘s foreign policy maintains balanced relations with Saudi Arabia, the United States, and the European Union, Iran tends to warn against it and raised concerns about Pakistan’s alleged backing of the Taliban during the fourth phase of civil war in Afghanistan in the last years of the 20th century. Iran was concerned after former army chief Raheel Sharif’s appointment as the head of the Saudi Arabia-led military alliance but Islamabad assured Tehran that the coalition was not anti-Iran.
Iran has been a respected, popular, and favoured nation among Pakistanis, with 76 percent of Pakistanis viewing their western neighbour positively, making Pakistan the most pro-Iran nation in the world.
Dr Mohammed Ajam said that Iran and Pakistan had hosted millions of Afghan refugees and must try to resolve the Afghanistan issue together.
“There are around three million Afghans living in Iran. More than half of them are illegal. We have been deporting thousands of Afghans annually who enter illegally and start working here,” he said.
Dr Ajam said that misunderstandings between Iran and Pakistan exist but “they can be removed with sincere efforts. Out leadership is for unbreakable friendship with Pakistan . Senior official says Khamenei, Rouhani regard bilateral ties top priority Iranian
” February 17, 2018.
Rouhani reiterates Iran’s commitment .
Dr Mohammed Ajam told The Nation that President Rouhani’s offer to go to the referendum on important issues was a big announcement and a ‘shock’ for the rivals.
TEHRAN: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani yesterday said that the ‘new conspiracies’ by the United States to divide the Iranian nation had miserably failed.
Speaking to journalists here, after leading a massive rally to mark the country’s 39th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Rouhani said big rallies across Iran were a ‘response’ to the US.
“The conspiracies of the Zionists have been given a response by the nation. The unprecedented participation by the people in the rallies proves this nation cannot be divided,” he said.
President Rouhani joined the millions of people in Azadi (independence) Street who were marking the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution.
Earlier, addressing the event, President Rouhani said referendum can be held to settle key disputes between the various parties in Iran . He called upon various political groups to refer to the Article 59 of Iranconstitution on the disputed issues.
The Article says that the legislature on certain important social, economic, cultural and political issues can be offered to public vote, he said.
The President said if the two political wings disagree on a certain issue, “there is no need to dispute or promote, the solution is ballot box”. He added: “This is one of the capacities of Iran’s constitution which should be addressed.”
The Article 59 of Iran’s constitution reads: “In extremely important economic, political, social, and cultural matters, the functions of the legislature may be exercised through direct recourse to popular vote through a referendum. Any request for such direct recourse to public opinion must be approved by two-thirds of members of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (parliament).”
The day of Imam Khomeini’s return to Iran from exile (February 1, 1979) marks the beginning of the Ten-Day Dawn in ceremonies which culminate with the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution on February 11, 1979.
Iranian people had toppled the US-backed Raza Shah Pahlavi regime 39 years ago, ending 2,500 years of absolute monarchy in the country.
But the Iranian President reiterated that Tehran was committed to its obligations under the nuclear deal reached between Iran and G5+1 (US, UK, Russia, China, France plus Germany) in 2015.
“Our nation is committed to its obligations till the time that the other side is bound to its obligations but if they aim to exit, they will be harmed,” he said in his address.
He said the US was conspiring against Iran by supporting unrests. “Our people said no to them and deterred the Americans’ conspiracy by elevating their unity and solidarity,” he said.
He welcomed the UN General Assembly’s opposition to the US bid against Palestine and said: “They wanted to declare Holy Quds as the capital of Zionist regime but the world stood against this conspiracy.”
The President underlined resisting foreign or possible domestic pressures in a bid to reform the structure of country’s economy.
He said the government was committed to fight air pollution in big cities, dust pollution in some border provinces and also draught in cooperation with the regional countries.
President Rouhani referred to the progress made in the country in various fields saying that, for the first time, Iran was recovering more oil from the joint oil fields with Qatar, south of Iran .
Elaborating on the government achievements, he said that Iran’s gas production from the joint gas fields with Qatar in South Pars has increased from 285 mcm to 553 mcm.
Minister Counselor of the Iranian foreign ministry Dr Mohammed Ajam told The Nation that President Rouhani’s offer to go to the referendum on important issues was a big announcement and a ‘shock’ for the rivals.
“For the first time after 40 years from revolution a high official like President Rouhani said we should solve all important issue through referendum,” he said.
Dr Ajam said normalization of relation with the US and also issues like Hijab (cover) of women are very sensitive issues between reformists and the hardliners,” he added. He said several reformists had welcomed the President’s speech.
He said under article 59 vital economic, political, social, and cultural issues can be referred to the people through referendum or reference to direct public vote.
“The request to appeal to public votes must be approved by two-thirds of the entire representatives of the assembly,”Dr Ajam explained.