Pakistan, Iran to increase trade volume to $10bn, says President Raisi


ISLAMABAD: Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi Monday said that both Pakistan and Iran have agreed to increase trade volume to $10 billion, stressing that the current volume between the two countries is “not acceptable”.

President Raisi made these remarks during a joint presser with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad after arriving to Pakistan on a three day official visit — the first of a head of state after the February 8 general elections.

“Today we decided to increase economic, commercial and cultural relations between Pakistan and Iran,” said the Iranian president.

In his address during the press conference, Raisi said both countries are determined to fight against terrorism and other manifestations of insecurity which endanger our two countries and the wider region.

“There are a number of common positions and stances between our two countries, for instance, when it comes to fighting against terrorism both countries are determined to fight against terrorism, organised crime, narcotics and different forms and manifestations of insecurity which endanger our two countries and the region,” President Raisi said.

President Raisi, highlighting the brotherly relations between Pakistan and Iran, said that the two nations have historical ties which are based on religious beliefs and cultural similarities.

No one can sever Pakistan’s relations with Iran, he said.

The Iranian president, talking about several sanctions imposed on his country by the Western powers, said that the people of Iran have turned those sanctions into opportunities.

He hoped that his visit would prove to be important for mutual relations between Pakistan and Iran.

President Raisi also thanked the Pakistani government for its support towards the people of Gaza and condemning the genocide by Israel’s occupation forces. He lauded Pakistan for taking a bold stance on the matter.

PM Raisi arrives in Islamabad

Earlier today, in a major diplomatic development, the Iranian President arrived in Islamabad on a three-day official visit to Pakistan, the first by any foreign leader to Pakistan after the February 8 polls.

His visit will also be watched closely by the United States amid the Iran-Israel tension. However, sources told Geo News that the visit has no relation with the ongoing hostility.

Following his arrival at the Prime Minister’s House to meet with PM Shehbaz Sharif, the Iranian president received a guard of honour from the smartly turned-out contingents of the armed forces.

The premier welcomed the high-profile guest as he arrived at the venue of the formal welcome ceremony after which the national anthems of both countries were played, as the Iranian president stood at the salute dais along with PM Shehbaz.

Later, both President Raisi and the premier introduced their respective delegations to each other before proceeding for the tete-a-tete and delegation-level talks.

During the visit, President Raisi will also meet President Asif Ali Zardari, Chairman Senate Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir.

President Raisi will also visit Lahore and Karachi and meet with the provincial leadership.

Meanwhile, speaking during a press conference in Tehran before his departure, the Iranian president termed Pakistan a “brotherly Islamic country” and underscored historic relations with its government and people.

The president also highlighted that both Islamabad and Tehran have a common position on various global issues including anti-terrorism efforts as well as the violation of human rights in Palestine.

Commenting on his Islamabad trip, Raisi said his visit would see the two sides mulling over various issues including those relating to security, economy and trade.

The president, expressing the intention to increase bilateral trade to $10 billion, said that Islamabad could benefit from the Iranian market.

The Iranian president, according to Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, will be accompanied by his spouse and a high-level delegation, comprising the foreign minister and other members of the cabinet, senior officials and a large business delegation.

The two sides, during President Raisi’s visit, will have a wide-ranging agenda to further strengthen Pakistan-Iran ties and enhance cooperation in diverse fields, including trade, connectivity, energy, agriculture and people-to-people contacts.

Leaders from both sides will also discuss regional and global developments and bilateral cooperation to combat the common threat of terrorism.

The dignitary, upon his arrival at the Islamabad airport, was received by Federal Minister for Housing and Works Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Iran Mudassir Tipu.

PM Shehbaz will hold delegation-level talks with Iran’s Raisi at the PM Office after which, the FO shared, a number of memorandum of understanding (MoUs) will be signed between the two sides.

The premier will also host a luncheon in honour of the visiting dignitary.

The FO added that President Zardari will meet his Iranian counterpart at Aiwan-e-Sadr and host a dinner in his honour.

In the second leg of his high-profile visit to Pakistan, Raisi will travel to Lahore where he will meet Governor Balighur Rehman and Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz.

He is also scheduled to visit the mausoleum of Allama Iqbal.

Later, the Iranian leader will travel to Karachi where his meetings are scheduled with Governor Kamran Tessori and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

Raisi will also visit Quaid’s mausoleum in Karachi and pay his respects to the founder of Pakistan.

The foreign leader would stay in Karachi and return to Tehran on Wednesday.

The provincial authorities are on high alert due to the high-profile visit and public holiday has been declared in Karachi on April 23.__The News