Beware of ‘hands’ sowing rift between us: Iran to Pakistan

* Khamenei tells Nawaz US, some other states attempting to create differences between Iran, Pakistan* Hopes gas pipeline project will complete during incumbent govt’s tenure

TEHRAN: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on Monday lambasted the US and ‘some other states’ for their attempts to create rift between Iran and Pakistan.
“There are hands at work that intend to cause differences between the two friendly and intimate nations through different methods, including stirring insecurity at the lengthy common borders. We shouldn’t allow the big opportunity existing for the expansion of the relations between the two countries to be lost,” Khamenei told Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at a meeting.
He underlined the need for further development of ties between the two countries and laid special importance on the implementation of joint ventures, like Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. He expressed the hope that practical measures will be taken on this front during Nawaz Sharif’s tenure.
Khamenei laid emphasis on the independent nature of Tehran-Islamabad relations and stressed that the two states shouldn’t wait for others’ ‘permission’ to enhance their ties. “The US is among the countries who are attempting to create rift between Iran and Pakistan,” he said, and cautioned that there are some other governments as well that are doing the same. “We should take good care and not to be trapped by such states,” he added.
Khamenei said the people of Pakistan are as dear to him as the people of Iran. “I will offer special prayers so that relationship between Pakistan and Iran reaches new bounds and heights,” he said, and expressed confidence that the visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would further boost the brotherly relations between the two countries.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the Pak-Iran relations have historical perspective and the two Muslim countries have common traditions. “These common bonds make our relationship special,” he added.
Both the leaders agreed to work in unison for development of the region.
The meeting was also attended by the delegation accompanying the prime minister.
Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani agreed to continue with the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, maintaining that it was beneficial for the people of both countries. Nawaz told the Iranian president that he was in Tehran with his finance, petroleum and interior teams to resolve all the matters which were creating hindrance in the completion of the project.
Claiming that Pakistan-Iran relations are bound by historical and religious linkages, Nawaz said, “I am here to open a new page in Pak-Iran relationships.”
Meanwhile, Iranian and Pakistani officials signed an agreement on extradition of prisoners by the two countries. The agreement was endorsed by Iran’s Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s senior advisor for National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.
Nawaz Sharif arrived in Tehran on Sunday for an official two-day visit to the country. Sharif’s visit to Tehran is his first since the formation of new governments in the two neighbouring countries.
Iran and Pakistan have exchanged delegations on a regular basis and the two countries are keen to expedite expansion of their bilateral ties.
The long-awaited Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, whose future has now grown rather uncertain, as well as border security are said to stand atop the discussions of the Pakistani premier with Iranian officials.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the mausoleum of Imam Raza (AS) here.
The prime minister reached here after visiting Tehran. He was received by Governor General of Khorasan Razavi province and other high officials at the airport.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took food at the ‘langar’ along with the general public at the mausoleum.
Later, he offered prayers at the mausoleum and also prayed for prosperity of Pakistan. 

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