ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Energy (MoE) has been directed to analyze and determine the effect of US sanctions on Pakistan’s economic relations with Iran, especially in the energy sector.
In an inter-ministerial meeting organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the job to assess and evaluate the effect of US sanctions on Pakistan’s growth of economic relations with Iran was given to MoE which would be required to provide firm recommendations, reports Dawn.
The recommendations to be provided by MoE will constitute part of the new government’s economic and trade relations overseas in midst of regional and international relationships between major global powers, especially after the US pulled out of a nuclear deal with Iran, said a senior official.
Also, the senior official disclosed all friendly and brotherly countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran have expressed interest in bolstering and resuscitating trade and economic relations with Pakistan after the triumph of Imran Khan’s PTI in the general elections held late last month.
At centre stage of Pakistan-Iran relations is the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline worth around $7.5 billion, which remained halted during the previous government’s tenure.
Amongst the first to meet Prime Minister-designate Imran Khan was Iran’s ambassador in Islamabad alongside a few other diplomats calling for bolstering relations.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has since April this year been holding out the prospect of a long-term financing facility of $4 billion with Islamic Development Bank (IDB) for oil financing in the present financial year 2018-19.
Also, Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salam contacted Mr Khan and vowed to exchange top-level visits.
And the official shared key stakeholders recently appraised the situation emerging out of US withdrawal from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) accord reached between Iran and P5+1 including China, UK, US, Germany, Russia and France.
The recently held inter-ministerial meeting arranged by foreign affairs ministry took note of the possible consequences for Pakistan of the US decision to withdraw from JCPOA and worsening bilateral relations between Islamabad and Washington.
According to the official, Pakistan always favoured friendly ties with neighbouring Islamic countries via economic engagement which has been severed by US sanctions but also impeded the execution of IP gas pipeline and normal bilateral trade.
The official added, “re-imposition of unilateral sanctions by President Trump on Iran that also involved secondary sanctions on third countries with effect from August and November 2018 posed serious challenges going forward”.
And the official stated taking this situation into context, all the agencies and ministries concerned were told to provide their detailed input alongside expert opinions on how to formulate a self-standing future trade and economic policy towards Iran.
During the meeting, it was pinpointed the decision of China, European countries and Russia to side with Iran on JCPOA provided a window of opportunity for many.
Both Pakistan and Iran are on friendly terms, but this hasn’t realized into a thriving trade relationship. However, Iran’s $427.6 billion economy has been crippled by multiple sanctions which have damaged its economy and its currency.