Iran quashes talk of undermining Gwadar port

Published: October 29, 2015
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Ali Shamkhani and Sartaj Aziz shake hands prior to their meeting at the Foreign Office. PHOTO: APP

Ali Shamkhani and Sartaj Aziz shake hands prior to their meeting at the Foreign Office. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: 

Expressing its willingness for enhanced bilateral security and economic cooperation with Pakistan, Iran has dismissed suggestions that it is developing the Chabahar port to undermine the Gwadar deep seaport in Balochistan.

“There has been talk that Chabahar and Gwadar ports will compete with each other. This is not true. Iran considers this as a matter of cooperation not competition,” said a top Iranian security official at a joint news conference with Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Wednesday.

Iran not against CPEC, Gwadar port: Javad Zarif

The statement by Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, came amid reports that India is attempting to use the Chabahar port to compete with Gwadar. The strategic Chabahar port in southeastern Iran is central to New Delhi’s efforts to circumvent arch-nemesis Pakistan and open up a route to landlocked Afghanistan where it has developed close security relations and economic interests.

The Gwadar port is seen as central to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will connect the impoverished western region with Central Asia and the Middle East through a network of rail and road links passing through Pakistan. Earlier in August Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif had dismissed suggestions that Tehran was opposed to the CPEC project, saying it “supports growth and development anywhere in Pakistan”.

Shamkhani, an influential figure responsible for Iran’s defence and security policies, held wide-ranging talks with Sartaj Aziz. Aziz told the news conference that implementation of Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers would open up new avenues of economic and trade opportunities for the two countries and contribute to promotion of peace, security and prosperity in the region and beyond.

After nuclear deal, Pakistan and Iran seek to increase trade

“Both sides noted that the security scenario in the region was evolving rapidly, and there was a need for the two countries to work together through better and closer coordination on tracking and controlling existing and emerging terrorist threats in the region,” he added.

The Iranian official said his country was ready to join hands with Pakistan to fight the threat posed by the Islamic State and other Takfiri terrorist groups.

Asked whether Iran would join the US alliance against IS, also known by its Arabic acronym Da’ish, Shamkhani said Tehran was ready to work with any country which was sincere in fighting the menace of terrorism. However, he added that Da’ish was created by certain countries to further their interests.

Iran’s strategic port offer to help India bypass Pakistan

In reply to a question about the Russian air strikes in Syria, Aziz said Pakistan was assessing the situation as to whether Moscow’s move would lead to a political settlement. “Until then we reserve our judgment,” he added.

Shamkhani also praised Pakistan’s stance on Yemen. Despite intense pressure from its Gulf allies, Islamabad had refused to join the Saudi-led alliance against the Houthi rebels in Yemen earlier this year.

In replying to another question, the Iranian official said Tehran believed that resolution of the longstanding Kashmir dispute had to be found through political means. “Our position is very clear that there has to be a political settlement of the Kashmir issue in line with the wishes of Kashmiris,” Shamkhani emphasised.

Iran agrees to consider being part of CPEC

Responding to a question about the anti-Muslim policies in India, the Iranian official made it clear that imposing a ban on cow slaughter and other means could not suppress Islam.

Shamkhani will meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday and extend him an invitation for a summit of gas exporting countries scheduled to be held in Tehran in near future.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Logic
    Oct 29, 2015 - 11:37AM

    Doval must be scratching his head ;).Recommend

  • Begistan
    Oct 29, 2015 - 11:57AM

    Iran’s bonding with India withstood the time as Iran knows very well about pak’s past & current policies which are always pro U.S.and Arabs (now chinese too) in the expectation of loans & aids!Recommend

  • Tryst
    Oct 29, 2015 - 12:23PM

    I love the evolving terminology of Pakistani media. Pakistan has apparently grown from India’s ‘rival’ to ‘arch-rival’ to now ‘arch-nemesis’! What a bunch of wannabes!Recommend

  • sam
    Oct 29, 2015 - 1:31PM

    Indians shouldnt be concerned about Pakistan’s friendly relations with anyone.. it is just a sign of insecurity if they comment otherwise. Recommend

  • Point
    Oct 29, 2015 - 2:43PM

    During the tough situations, Made in Iran items were and are sold in huge amount in Pakistan. In Peshawar either it’s made in China product or Made in Iran. All food products in Karkhano market, and kitchenware products are Made in Iran. Pakistan and Iran has very close relationship which is kept at low to prevent fingers being raised by Saudi Arabia. Half of our products in Kitchen are Made in Iran. Some even bear marks that says “death to US” lol.

    Anyways Made in Iran things are really of excellent quality. Recommend

  • Ali Yusuf
    Oct 29, 2015 - 4:47PM

    Hmm … after reading some of the feedback posts here … I am inclined to think that some feathers have been ruffled the wrong way by the Iranian NSA’s statement on Kashmir.

    To those I recommend Burnol for relief. Recommend

  • Abbas from the US
    Oct 29, 2015 - 6:47PM

    The US does not retain the same interest in the Middle East as it did for the past few decades, moreover with this century appearing to be a harbinger of the Asia Pacific growth period US’s emphasis is also shifting in its Pivot to Asia policy.

    During the last few years or so due to the Sanctions period Iran has been able to maintain its energy sales to China although the repatriation of capital generated due to energy sales has been an acute problem for the Iranians.

    The Iranian establishment will also not easily forget the Indian vote for Sanctions against Iran.

    The CPEC corridor is also a guarantee for future Iranian energy exports to China can be routed.China which has a significant energy need will continue to expand its purchases (By the year 2030 the Chinese economy will be twice the size of the current US economy, the current number one economy in the world today).

    As the US draws down in Afghanistan, it may not need to have the same influence in Pakistan, which itself can project its own future course by forming a loosely knit alliance with China Iran Russia as while balancing its relationship with the .

    For the moment as emerging regional geo strategic realities take place it appears Pakistan and Iran have similar alignments and may require some mutual reassurance periodicallyRecommend

  • shank
    Oct 31, 2015 - 2:55AM

    1 official from Iran visit Pakistan and everyone in Pakistan thinks that Iran is their friend now. Tomorrow if Saudi Arabia orders every thing will be rolled back. Also Pakistan neither has the money nor market to compete with India-so bravado will make you sleep tonight but no use practically.Recommend

  • Omar
    Oct 31, 2015 - 7:45PM

    @Begistan:
    India is the top recipient of US aid. Indian PM is the one making tea for Obama. Now as far as this mythical “india Iran bond” that you are dreaming of never existed.But regardless of all this, there it Iran officially rejecting any and all claims whether its about Gawadar port or Indian occupied Kashmir and here you are telling yet another bolywood story. Come to real world son, your insecurity and frustration is very obvious. :PRecommend

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