KARACHI: “Iran and Pakistan have no other option but to work together for their survival, security and for prevention of our heritage. This cooperation could assist in stabilizing our region”, these views were expressed by H.E Dr.Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajadpour, Iran’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs while address on the topic “Pakistan’s Place in Iran’s Strategic Thinking”, at Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) on August 11th, 2016.
Dr. Sajjadpour is former Ambassador of Iran to Geneva, former Advisor to the Foreign Ministry on Strategic Affairs, Head of Policy Planning at Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President of the Iranian Political Science Associate and President of the Center for International Research and Education.
On Iran-Pakistan pipeline project he said, “We have done our job, there is a section on Pakistan’s side which should be completed. I heard that the Chinese are financing for it. It should be materialized”.
Dr. Sajjadpour presented his detailed analysis on the current global issues before coming to discuss Iran-Pakistan relationships. He described the global situation with the help of three ‘Ts’-Turmoils, Transitions, and Trends of conflicting nature.
On first ‘T’ turmoil, he said there is turmoil in all levels; turmoil in institutions, turmoil in mentalities. Britain exists from the European Union. This has caused shocks and a ripple effect. “The concept of the nation state is in turmoil”, especially in the Arab states, said the Iranian diplomat.
The second ‘T’, he said, is the transition, with many ambiguities. “Transitions are excruciating processes. There is a transition in the global system in many dimensions. Is the US powerful? Yes. Can it exert its power in attaining its goals? No, military power is not enough. Power-holders are becoming multiple. Sometimes non-state actors are more powerful than states; ISIS [the militant Islamic State group] is one of them. I think the power holders are also in a state of transition. The power is shifting from Europe and its extension US to Asia particularly to China. Today’s china is very different with the China two decades back. I think all these things with respect to power creating much ambiguity.
According to Dr. Sajjadpour, the Third ‘T’ affecting the global situation is Trends of Conflicting nature. He said the narrow-minded localization is even worse than the tribal mentality as the later is good sometimes having a hierarchy and a room for negotiation in feuds even fight with the tribal heads. There is closeness of the world today [due to globalization] but on the other hand, there is also growing apart due to narrow-minded localization.
On talking about Iran-Pakistan bilateral relationship he said, “In a state of turmoil, transition and trends of conflicting nature there is a need for both countries to work together much more than before for our survival, security, and prevention of our heritage. We need each other to secure and insulate our nations from” the state of flux that was rocking the global environment, he said. “Iran and Pakistan can reshape this region in a much better way. Our strategic interest is to” cooperate and expand cooperation, he added.
Discussing the bonds between the two countries he said: “Iran is no scarce of neighbors but the bonds with Pakistan are unique as there is religious, civilization, linguistic, political, and economic and even the think tanks bonds. There is needed to take these bonds more seriously for greater cooperation between the two neighboring countries in order to combat the third parties who want to destroy these bonds.
He informed that when there were natural disasters-floods in Pakistan in 2009 which caused hundreds of people death, the Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei was giving a sermon. He was so sorry for what happen with the Pakistan’s people that he cried during his sermon in front of the audience.
The deputy FM said, “ Iran is a very open and debating society. I have never [heard] one single dissenting voice on cooperation with Pakistan. There is a consensus on cooperating with Pakistan. I think there is a similar consensus in Pakistan as well. We have to take this friendship more seriously.”
“Answering questions from the audience, Dr. Sajjadpour denied Iran was pursuing a sectarian foreign policy. “Others pursue a sectarian policy. The sectarian narrative has nothing to do with the policy of Iran. We are for Muslim unity.” He said there was a desire in some quarters to “weaken Muslim societies economically, socially and politically. We should be careful.”
Dr.Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajadpour urged to make the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) more active to strengthen the cooperation among Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey.