Pakistan, Iran to explore new avenues for enhanced ties

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    Pakistan and Iran have agreed to enhance cooperation and explore new avenues to improve border security and address the “common threat” of terrorism, following a two-day visit by Army Chief General Asim Munir to Tehran, according to the military. General Asim Munir’s visit marked his first trip to Iran as army chief, during which he held talks with his Iranian counterpart and met with civilian leaders, including the Iranian president and foreign minister. Key priorities on the agenda included discussions on border security and counterterrorism efforts.

    The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) issued a statement describing the army chief’s visit as successful. The statement highlighted that General Asim Munir had extensive meetings with Iran’s military leadership, including Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Bagheri. Both sides acknowledged terrorism as a common threat to the region and emphasized the need for intelligence sharing and effective actions against terrorist networks in border areas. They also expressed their commitment to exploring opportunities for enhanced cooperation in the security domain.

    During his visit, General Asim Munir also had the honor of meeting with President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian. The discussions emphasized the significance of Pakistan-Iran bilateral relations for regional peace and stability.

    Upon his arrival, the army chief received a Guard of Honor from a smartly turned-out contingent of the Iranian armed forces at the military headquarters.

    Historically, Pakistan-Iran relations have been affected by a trust deficit due to regional rivalry between Tehran and Riyadh. However, the geopolitical landscape has witnessed a notable shift after China facilitated a landmark reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Since then, the two regional powers have restored diplomatic ties and taken steps to improve their relationship.

    This shift in dynamics has directly benefited Pakistan, as it previously faced challenges in maintaining a delicate balance between Iran and Saudi Arabia. With the past being buried and Iran and Saudi Arabia working towards reconciliation, Pakistan sees this as an excellent opportunity to deepen not only security cooperation but also economic ties with Iran. Recently, Pakistan agreed to engage in barter trade with Iran and other regional countries to mitigate the impact of Western sanctions on Tehran.

    China’s role in bringing about this change is crucial, as it utilizes its influence to foster closer relations between Iran and Pakistan.