Islamabad: Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Javad Zarif, who is on a three day visit to Pakistan has said that Iran has offered China and Pakistan to participate in the Chahbahar seaport project, reported the Dawn.
Zarif also added that the Chahbahar should be liked with with the Gwadar Port as he sought to allay concerns here over Indian involvement in the Iranian port.
“We offered to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). We have also offered Pakistan and China to participate in Chahbahar,” Zarif said while delivering a lecture at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) that had been held to commemorate 70th anniversary of establishment of Pak-Iran diplomatic relations.
Zarif had earlier held bilateral talks with his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif at the Foreign Office and addressed a trade conference. The visiting foreign minister is being accompanied by a large trade delegation from Iran.
Pakistan had always been concerned about Indian involvement in Chahbahar port. These concerns got amplified after Iran last month signed a lease agreement with India, which would give operational control of the port to the latter.
Emphasising that both Gwadar and Chahbahar were important projects for development of deprived Eastern and South-eastern Iran and South Western Pakistan, he said that both needed to be linked through sea and land routes for effecting their complementarities.
“We are taking measures to do that and there is an open invitation to Pakistan to participate in that,” the foreign minister said.
Mr Zarif further clarified that Chahbahar port project was not meant to “encircle Pakistan … strangulate anybody”. He twice said Iran would not allow anybody to hurt Pakistan from its territory much like Pakistan would not allow its soil to be used against Iran.