Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has stressed the importance of strengthening relations in the spheres of trade and border security with Pakistan.
“Tehran-Islamabad relations in the economic field must reach a higher level than the current one and the two sides should not be satisfied with the current volume of trade and economic relations,” Rouhani said in a meeting with Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Tehran on November 19, according to president.ir.
He added that "Iran has laid the Peace Pipelines to the Pakistani border and we are completely ready to boost cooperation in this regard”.
The 2,775-kilometre Iran–Pakistan gas pipeline, known as the Peace Pipeline, which is an under-construction, will deliver natural gas from Iran to Pakistan. Iran has already completed the construction of its segment of the pipeline, which runs 900 kilometers (559 miles), however, Pakistan has fallen short of constructing its 700 km (435 mi) segment.
As of early 2019, the project remains substantially delayed. While the Iranian section of the pipeline has been completed, the Pakistani section remains under construction and subject to renewed delays due to concerns about the US sanctions. The two countries are also developing two major ports in respective countries, Chabahar Port and Gwadar Port.
The Iranian president said positive developments have been made to enhance security in common borders and expressed confidence that given the two countries’ firm resolve, they can easily confront smugglers and those who create insecurity in border areas.
Rouhani also referred to the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, saying that the United States has been destabilizing Afghanistan and increased the country’s problems by deploying troops.
During his visit, the Pakistani general also has held several meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri, Army Commander Major General Seyed Abdolrahim Mousavi, and Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.
At the meeting, the Iranian foreign minister and the Pakistani Army chief discussed the latest status of Iranian border guards who have been kidnapped by Pakistani-based terrorist groups, regional cooperation between Tehran and Islamabad, developments in Afghanistan, and bilateral ties in areas of politics, economy, military and security.
Iranian military forces along the southeastern border areas are frequently attacked by terrorist groups coming from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In February, a bus carrying the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ personnel between the cities of Zahedan and Khash in the Iranian southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan bordered with Pakistan, was targeted in a suicide car bomb attack. Twenty-seven IRGC members were killed and 13 others injured in the attack, claimed by the so-called Jaish al-Adl terrorist group based in Pakistan.
On October 15, fifteen Iranian Basijis (volunteer forces) and border guard forces were abducted by terrorists in the Iranian-Pakistani border in Sistan and Baluchestan by Jaish al-Adl. Five of them were later released through the efforts of the Pakistani government on November 15.