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Chabahar not rival to Gwadar says Iranian envoy to Pakistan

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Islamabad : Mehdi Honerdoost, the Iranian ambassador to Pakistan has said the Chabahar port agreement between Iran, India and Afghanistan is not finished and not limited to the three countries.

The envoy, speaking on Pakistan-Iran relations at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad (ISSI), revealed that the offer to cooperate had first been extended to Pakistan and then China, implying neither had expressed interest.

Ahmed Saffee, a research fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad quoted the Iranian envoy as saying that the deal is still on the table for both Pakistan and China, assuring that “Chabahar is not a rival to Gwadar”, reports Dawn.

The envoy reportedly also said that both are sister ports, and Chabahar port authorities would extend cooperation to Gwadar.

“The deal is not finished. We are waiting for new members. Pakistan, our brotherly neighbours and China, a great partner of the Iranians and a good friend of Pakistan, are both welcome,” Honerdoost said.

He said that India was a good friend during sanctions, for being the only country to import oil.

Honerdoost reiterated that trade and business is a key element to bringing peace to the region, and that Tehran has friendly trade relations with its neighbours and regional powers, including Turkey, China and Russia.

A three-way transit agreement on Iran’s southern port of Chabahar was signed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday. (ANI)

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