Trade with Iran

The visit of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is significant for a multitude of reasons, but most of all for its timing. Less than a week has passed since Iran struck targets inside Israel in response to the Israeli regime hitting Iran’s consulate in Syria.

President Raisi’s visit had of course been planned in advance. But his arrival in Pakistan marks an important moment. After all, it has only been four short months since Iran struck two missiles allegedly against holdouts of Jaish ul Adl in Pakistan. The Pakistan Air Force responded swiftly to level the playing field and struck Baloch Militants on the Iranian side of the border.

Diplomatic tensions persisted for a few days but both countries made it clear quickly that they would work quickly to maintain friendly ties. This was a good sign since Pakistan desperately needs trade partners and can find no better avenue than its neighbours. Economically trade with India is what is best for Pakistan. The unwillingness of New Delhi, however, has only grown and if Prime Minister Modi’s rhetoric in his ongoing election campaign is any indication, India’s attitude towards Pakistan is not going to soften anytime soon.

It is encouraging that in a meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad, President Raisi said that current trade volumes between the two countries were not acceptable and needed to rise to at least $10 billion.

The statement also comes in the backdrop of the US disapproving of Iran and Pakistan building a long-touted gas pipeline between the two countries. Iran currently stands in a tense moment of isolation from the Western World because of its actions against Israel. President Raisi’s visit to Pakistan at this hour is significant because it indicates a level of confidence on behalf of the Iranian Government in Pakistan as a business partner. What will be important is political will both in Tehran and Islamabad to turn these plans and statements into a reality.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].


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