Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif discussed bilateral relations and security cooperation with officials in neighboring Pakistan this week.
The Iranian official’s visit came as his country thwarted two suicide attacks near the Iran-Pakistan border.
“Last night we had two suicide attack attempts from Pakistani territory into Iran. Both of them were foiled, and we had excellent cooperation last night from the Pakistani armed forces in order to contain this. We are very happy with the level of cooperation that exists today,” Zarif told Pakistan’s Geo News.
Iran’s visit to Pakistan comes amid strained relations between Washington and Islamabad.
U.S. President Donald Trump has suspended nearly $2 billion in security aid to Pakistan for its reluctance to take decisive action against terrorist groups planning and carrying out attacks in neighboring Afghanistan, namely the Taliban and its Haqqani Network allies.
Pakistan has also recently met with Russia, Iran’s ally in Syria.
According to the U.S. military, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia lend support to Taliban terrorists killing and maiming American troops and their allies in Afghanistan.
Referring to Zarif’s three-day visit to Islamabad, the state-owned Radio Pakistan reported:
A 30-member business delegation comprising representatives from economic, trade and business sectors is accompanying the Iranian foreign minister.
During the visit, Zarif will hold meetings with President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
Shiite Iran’s semi-official Tasnim News Agency cites Sunni majority Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa as praising Iran “as a lasting ally of his country, stressing the need for boosting joint cooperation to ensure regional security.”
Establishment of regional security relies on direct cooperation among countries and their joint efforts, the general added.
For his part, Zarif called for the expansion of security cooperation for sustainable security along the common border.
Tehran and Islamabad should join hands to defeat the terrorist groups seeking insecurity of the common border, he added.
The restive Balochistan region covers territory in Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and houses members of the mainly Sunni Baloch community.
During the past few years, Islamabad has accused Iran of violating its territorial integrity by attacking Baloch separatists in Pakistan.
Balochistan province makes up nearly half of Pakistan. Iran has repeatedly fired mortar shells into the region, at times killing civilians.