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EghtesadOnline: Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Mashhad on Sunday as part of his two-day visit to Iran at the head of a politico-economic delegation.

He is to meet the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and a group of Iranian and Pakistani businesspeople on Monday. 

Since assuming office last August, Imran Khan has been visiting regional countries to improve Pakistan's ties and promote the country as a destination for foreign investments. This is his first official visit to Iran in this capacity.  

According to Pakistan's ambassador in Tehran, Riffat Masood, he aimed to travel to Iran earlier, but had not managed to arrange the trip due to his busy schedule, according to Financial Tribune.

"Iran is a Muslim and friendly neighboring country and we are after expanding our mutual ties," she told IRNA.  

“Imran Khan has placed economic relations with regional countries high on his agenda, seeing it as key to improving people's living conditions.” 

Along this line, trade ties will be a main topic of discussion between the Pakistani delegation and officials and businesspeople in Tehran. 

The two sides will also discuss the fragile security situation in border areas. 

"With peace and security in borders, [mutual] trade will definitely be possible, otherwise, businesspeople will be scared off," Masood said. 

Iran and Pakistan have been victims of cross-border attacks in recent months, which have cast a shadow on their ties with both sides blaming each other for lack of control over terrorist activity conducted from their soil. 

However, both states have worked toward easing tensions and agreed not to allow third parties to undermine their longstanding relationship.

Pakistan’s relations with Iran are marked by close historical and cultural bonds and strong people-to-people exchanges. The two countries are also members of Economic Cooperation Organization and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Masood said despite the US pressure on Islamabad to minimize its relations with Tehran, Imran Khan insists that his country cannot disregard its neighbor. 

"We cannot turn our back on Iran, so I need to travel to this country. Whatever the US says, we intend to strengthen our ties with Iran," she quoted Khan as saying. 

Washington has placed sanctions on Iran after pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal last year. It is also threatening other countries with penalties for doing business with Iran. 

 

Iran prime minister Pakistan Talks Imran Khan