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Pakistan, Iran agree to complete gas pipeline

* Nawaz says Islamabad wants to increase trade volume with Tehran to $5 billion

TEHRAN: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday agreed to continue with the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, terming it beneficial for the peoples of both countries.
Nawaz informed the Iranian president that he was there with his team of finance, petroleum and interior to resolve all the matters which were creating hindrance in the project. Both leaders reiterated their commitment to enhance trade between the two countries, at a meeting held at the Saadabad Palace.
Nawaz said there was lot of scope of increasing the trade volume between the two countries and they wanted to enhance it to new levels of $5 billion. He said Pakistan-Iran relations were bound by historical and religious linkages. “I am here to open a new chapter in Pakistan-Iran relations,” he said, adding, “As a prime minister, I visited Iran first in 1999 and have always found the Iranian more affectionate on every visit to Iran.”
President Rouhani said Iran-Pakistan relations had historical connections. Apart from being neighbours, both Muslim countries have the common traditions and relations based on the Holy Quran and the traditions of the Holy Prophet (SAWW), he said. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit would further boost the brotherly relations between the two countries, he added.
The prime minister told the Iranian president that some miscreant elements were trying to sabotage the brotherly relations between the two countries. He said they would deal with all such elements firmly and would not let them sabotage these relations. He said, “We want security for development and development for security”.
President Rouhani affirmed his government’s support, adding that peace in the region was their common goal. He said they would support Pakistan to develop and become more secure.
Both the leaders discussed the border security matters between the two countries. They agreed that better border management and improved security measures would result in increased bilateral trade and strengthening of relationship and cooperation between the two countries. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif extended invitation to President Rouhani to visit Pakistan which was accepted by the latter.
Later, the Iranian president hosted a luncheon in honour of the prime minister and the visiting delegation. Earlier upon arrival, the prime minister was given a warm welcome at the Mehrabad International Airport. The prime minister was received by Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance Ali Tayyabnia.
The official welcoming ceremony was held at the Saadabad Palace where a smartly turned out contingent presented guard of honour to the prime minister. The prime minister also held a meeting with First Vice President of Iran Eshaq Jehangiri in which matters of mutual and bilateral interest were discussed. 
Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar, Federal Minister for Petroleum Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Governor Balochistan Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Advisor to PM on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatimi were also present. 
Meanwhile, Pakistan and Iran signed eight MoUs  to enhance their cooperation further in various fields.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Iranian First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri witnessed the signing ceremony.
The following agreements were inked.
1. Agreement on Transfer of Offenders (Transfer of Sentenced Persons), signed by Iranian Justice Minister and Advisor to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.
2. MoU on Anti-Money Laundering signed by Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar and his Iranian counterpart.
3. MoU on Statistical Cooperation signed by Minister for Finance and Iranian Finance Minister.
4. Renewal of the Cultural Exchange Programme signed by Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Iranian Minister for Culture.
5. MoU on Sports Cooperation signed by Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Iranian Minister for Sports.
6. MoU on Cooperation in Preventing and Combating Pollution from Ships signed by the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources and Iranian Minister for Roads and Transport.
7. MoU on establishment of Joint Border Commission signed by Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs and Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif.
8. MoU between TDAP and IIEC signed by Ambassador of Pakistan to Iran and  Managing Director of Iran International Exhibition Company (IIEC). 

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