‘Iran’s role in protecting its integrity is very commendable’: Imran Khan

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AUG 4, 2018: Pakistan is ready to play a constructive and positive role between Iran and Saudi Arabia, said prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan to Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost on Saturday at his Bani Gala residence in capital Islamabad.

The Iranian envoy had called on the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman to congratulate him on his party’s victory in the 2018 general elections, a press release issued by the party said.

Ambassador Honardoost also conveyed congratulatory wishes to the prime minister-in-waiting from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Khan told the envoy ‘‘Iran’s role in protecting its integrity is very commendable.”

Khan added he wanted to visit Iran’s historical monuments one day.

Present during the meeting were PTI leaders Shah Mehmood Qureshi who’s a former foreign minister during PPP regime (2008-2012), Shireen Mazari, a defense, security and geopolitical expert, and Khan’s close aide Naeemul Haq .

The Iranian envoy’s visit comes a week after Khan in his victory speech said, “We want to improve ties with Iran. Saudi Arabia is a friend who has always stood by us in difficult times. Our aim will be that whatever we can do for conciliation in the Middle East, we want to play that role. Those tensions, that fight, between neighbors, we will try to bring them together.”

The envoy said Iran is ready to cooperate with Pakistan in regional development, and is also keen to expand trade with Pakistan.

He also expressed his country’s desire to negotiate with Pakistan on the stalled Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, adding that the pipeline could “change the future of Pakistan”, the PTI statement said.

According to reports, Pakistan and Iran may initiate in September the much awaited parleys on how to advance on the IP gas line project which was earlier shelved by the previous Nawaz government in June 2016.

While observing that the situation in the region is highly sensitive, Honardoost said: “Iran will welcome Pakistan’s suggestions to ensure peace in the region.”

Khan thanked the Iranian envoy for the wishes conveyed by his government, and reiterated Pakistan’s desire to trade with “all regional neighbors, including Iran”, said the PR.

The Iranian ambassador is one of many foreign dignitaries who have visited Khan in recent days. Envoy of UK, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have all called on the PTI chief since the election results arrived.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the incoming premier and congratulated him on his victory.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi also called Imran Khan to congratulate him over his party’s victory, saying that India was “ready to enter a new era of relations with Pakistan.”

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