Iranian President's Pakistan Visit Yields Agreements, Prompts US Sanctions Warning

Iranian President Raisi's visit to Pakistan sparks US warning over growing Iran-Pakistan ties and potential sanctions risk, as the two countries sign agreements to boost trade and cooperation.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Iranian President's Pakistan Visit Yields Agreements, Prompts US Sanctions Warning

Iranian President's Pakistan Visit Yields Agreements, Prompts US Sanctions Warning

As Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi continues his crucial three-day visit to Pakistan, Islamabad has received an understated warning from Washington over its growing closeness with Tehran, hinting a "potential risk of sanctions".

During his meetings with Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other top officials, Raisi discussed advancing bilateral relations and combating terrorism. The two leaders agreed to increase the annual trade volume between Iran and Pakistan to $10 billion within the next five years. They also witnessed the signing of eight accords aimed at strengthening collaboration in trade, science, technology, agriculture, health, culture, and judicial matters.

Raisi's visit, the first by a foreign leader to Pakistan since the elections on February 8, 2024, comes amid heightened tensions in the Middle East. Iran recently carried out missile and drone attacks on Israel in response to suspected Israeli strikes near the Iranian city of Isfahan. The Iranian president's trip is seen as an effort to bolster regional ties amid tightening Western sanctions and ongoing hostilities with Israel.

Why this matters: The growing partnership between Iran and Pakistan has raised concerns in the United States, which has long imposed sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program and regional activities. The potential for increased economic cooperation between the two countries could undermine the effectiveness of US sanctions and complicate Washington's efforts to isolate Tehran on the global stage.

In response to the agreements reached during Raisi's visit, a US State Department spokesperson advised anyone considering business deals with Iran to be aware of the potential consequences. "We've been clear that we will continue to enforce our sanctions on Iran," the spokesperson said, without directly mentioning Pakistan. The official also emphasized the significance of the US-Pakistan economic relationship, with the United States being Pakistan's largest export market.

Pakistan, which shares a 596-mile border with Iran, has historically maintained a delicate balance in its relations with both Iran and the United States. Islamabad relies heavily on US financial institutions for economic assistance and has no formal diplomatic ties with Israel. The stalled Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, which could help address Pakistan's energy crisis, remains a point of contention due to the looming threat of US sanctions.

As Raisi concluded his visit, the two countries reaffirmed their commitment to <a href="https://www.plenglish.com/news/2024/04/22/pakistan-and-iran-sign-joint

Key Takeaways

  • Iranian President Raisi visited Pakistan, signing bilateral agreements.
  • US warned of sanctions risk over Pakistan's growing ties with Iran.
  • Leaders agreed to increase Iran-Pakistan trade to $10B in 5 years.
  • Visit seen as Iran's effort to bolster regional ties amid tensions.
  • US-Pakistan economic ties significant, but Iran pipeline project stalled.