Relations with Iran in Pak interest: Salman

Staff Reporter

Monday, January 02, 2012 - Islamabad—Former caretaker Finance Minister Dr. Salman Shah has said that Pakistan should further strengthen its relations with Iran in all sectors. “Iran is our close friend and strong relation with Iran is in our interest,” Dr Salman Shah told IRNA in an interview.

He said that development of Iran actually means the development of the region. Expressing his views, Salman asked Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) countries to sign free trade agreements to bring stability in the region. He warned of serious consequences if sanctions are imposed on Iran’s oil sector. Dr. Salman Shah asked west not to make such move against the Islamic Republic as it would plunge the world in difficult situation.

“Economies of the world are going through recessions and cannot afford such negative step,” he opined. He pointed out that oil prices will increase if Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz. “Iran can take such step if pressurized,” he warned. Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi warned on December 27 that imposing sanctions against the country’s energy sector will prompt Tehran to prevent oil cargoes from passing through the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Dr. Salman Shah was of the view that any western step against Iran’s oil production would place the whole region into a difficult situation. “Such step is dangerous for the world peace,” said the economist. Former finance minister said that if Afghanistan can sign fuel deal with Iran then other countries of the world must also sign more deals with Iran in oil sector. He asked west to resolve all issues with Iran through dialogue. “Iran’s interest must be respected,” said the economist.

The US, Israel, and their allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and have used this allegation as a pretext to convince the UN Security Council to impose four rounds of sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Iran has refuted the allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Dr. Salman Shah was the former caretaker finance minister of Pakistan. Dr. Shah holds a PhD in Finance and Economics. During his time as in charge of Pakistan’s finance ministry (2004-2008), Pakistan’s economy registered an average of 7% GDP growth per annum, one of the highest in the world.

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