LAHORE: Iran has uncovered an elaborate two-year-old plot by US Central Intelligence Agency to systematically destabilise the country, alleges the Islamic Republic’s Ambassador to Pakistan Mash’allah Shakeri.
In an interview with Express News, Shakeri charged that both Quetta in Pakistan and Kabul in Afghanistan were being used as planning grounds by the US in this regard. “Under the plan, US$400 million per year has been reserved by the US Congress… The plan was made two years ago,” said the ambassador, whose country has strained relations with Washington for the last three decades, particularly since current Iranian President Mahmud Ahmedinejad took office. The US also spearheaded the recent UN Security Council resolution slapping fresh sanctions on Iran over its alleged intentions to build nuclear bomb, something that the Shakeri says the Islamic Republic is not looking to do, since it is haram.
Criticising US presence in Afghanistan he said, “America’s very presence in Afghanistan is counterproductive for terrorism. [It] has failed grossly in bringing peace and stability in the area.”
Speaking on the presence of tension between Iran and Pakistan, the ambassador said, “Pakistan disappointed us by not giving access to anti-Iranian Abdolmalek Rigi.”
“We knew Rigi was moving freely [between] Pakistan and Kabul, but Pakistan, despite our constant requests, did not help us arrest him. Pakistan said that they don’t know anything about the Rigi group… in the presence of such a strong monitoring system, how can I believe that Pakistan was unaware about all these things?” he added
On the gas pipeline agreement with Pakistan, he felt that the project has enhanced Pakistan’s strategic importance, particularly in relation to India. “In addition to the added economic value of billions of dollars, the Iran gas pipeline agreement has boosted the strategic value of Pakistan in the region. If there is any third country recipient, they have to recognise that Pakistan is going to provide a peaceful passage,” he said.
Answering a question on the silence regarding investigations into the attempt on the life of Pakistan’s ambassador to Iran, Shakeri said that there would have to be “patience” on the issue, shooting back that a number of Iranians had died in Pakistan.
“One ambassador of Pakistan is hurt by a hooligan, whereas a number of our diplomats, students and engineers have lost their lives on Pakistani soil. One of our diplomats was abducted; [Iranian diplomats] Sadiq Ganji was killed in Lahore and [Muhammad Ali] Rahimi was killed in Multan. Iranian students who came here for training lost their lives; engineers who were building a bridge in Karachi, their reward was the bullets they received,” he recalled.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2010.
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