The Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI) hosted a Public Talk under its Distinguished Lecture Series on August 10, 2016 titled “Iran and its Surroundings.” The keynote speaker was Dr. Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour, Head of the Center for International Research and Education at the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS), Tehran, with the status of Deputy Foreign Minister. The Ambassador, Islamic Republic of Iran, H.E. Mr. Mehdi Honardoost was also present at the occasion.
Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman Board of Governors of ISSI in his welcome remarks emphasised the close collaboration between the ISSI and IPIS since 2001 when they signed an MoU. He highlighted the common ties of culture, religion and language that Iran and Pakistan have, and how the two countries have stood by each other in hours of need. He especially mentioned how Iran stood by Pakistan during the 1965 and 1971 wars with India, and Pakistan, in turn, have also supported Iran at many occasions. He especially mentioned Pakistan’s support for Iran when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) referred Iran’s nuclear case to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Pakistan voted against the referral, whereas India voted for it. He emphasised the need to develop economic ties and stressed the need to improve trade between the two countries. He was hopeful regarding the progress on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline following the lifting of international sanctions on Iran. He emphasised that the new ports of Chabahar and Gwadar should not be viewed as competitors from a negative lens, but should rather be seen as complimenting projects which will help the progress of all the neigbouring states. He said that one cannot divorce bilateral relations from regional security.