Relations with Iran


Editorial April 23, 2010

Washington’s intentions with respect to our eastern neighbour are plain: they seek to isolate Tehran as much as possible and will lean on any and all allies to sever ties with it. Unfortunately, this is not entirely possible for Pakistan and not in the least bit desirable. Unlike the US, which has fleeting bouts of interest in the region, Pakistan is permanently located next to Iran. Also unlike the United States, Pakistan is not threatened by the idea of a nuclear weapon in Iran. On the other hand, trade with Iran is mutually beneficial to both countries.

For example, Iran has a surplus capacity of electricity production which it is willing, if not eager, to sell to Pakistan, a country that is desperately in need of power. In addition, Iran has the second largest reserves of natural gas in the world and Pakistan is falling short on its natural gas supplies. In exchange, Pakistan can provide Iran with agricultural products as well as refining capacity for oil, of which Iran is short and Pakistan has plenty. In short, trade between both countries is mutually beneficial, dare one say even necessary for the economic progress of both nations. Yet the counter-argument always runs thus: Pakistan depends on American aid and can therefore not afford to alienate Washington. Yet this argument does not take into account the fact that America needs Pakistan as much as Pakistan needs it. And perhaps more importantly, a relationship with America is one of subservience with a partner that is not reliable whereas a relationship with Iran is one among equals and is beneficial to both nations bound by history, geography, culture and destiny.

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