Foreign elements seek to poison Iran-Pakistan ties: diplomat

February 19, 2019

TEHRAN - Riffat Masood, the Pakistani ambassador to Tehran, has said that foreign elements seek to poison good relationship between Iran and Pakistan.

“Foreign elements seek to undermine the good relations between the two brotherly countries of Iran and Pakistan. We should not let them succeed,” she said in an interview with IRNA published on Tuesday.

On February 13, a car laden with explosives hit a bus of IRGC soldiers on Zahedan-Khash road in the border province of Sistan-Balouchestan, killing 27 and injuring the remaining 13.

Iran has strongly criticized Islamabad for failing to protect its borders with Iran, saying Pakistan has been turned into a safe haven for terrorist outfits such as Jaish al-Adl, which claimed responsibility for the attack.

Ambassador Masood said, “Pakistan will continue to work with Iran to bring an end to terrorism that affects our region.” 

She called the terrorist attack a cowardly act, saying, “Our deepest sympathies to all those affected by this heinous attack.” 

Elsewhere, Masood said, “We feel that the United States is an important county; it is one of our largest trading partners, but we have to be very careful and very watchful of the U.S. policy in Afghanistan and the U.S. intentions in our region. That is why Pakistan is a country that believes in engagement.”

She attached great importance to talks with Taliban as a political force and a party in Afghanistan.

“In order for any peace process to succeed in Afghanistan, you need to talk to Taliban as well,” she noted.

She added, “I think now there is a realization not only among the U.S. and the European Union but even among the countries in the region including Russia, China, India and Iran that Taliban are a party or a political force in Afghanistan and we have to negotiate with them.”

On the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal in May 2018, she said that Pakistan supports the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“Pakistan of course supports the JCPOA, and we support any moves made by any country around the world as well as the United Nations to resolve this issue and to end the sanctions against Iran as quickly as possible,” she said.

Masood highlighted the importance of expanding economic ties.

“Unfortunately they [economic ties] are not as good as they should be because there is a lack of banking channels; there are some problems between the Pakistani traders and Iranian traders,” she said.

“We need to sign free trade agreement to allow for trade to move freely between our borders,” she suggested.

NA/PA

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