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US's stern warning to Pakistan: 'Anyone considering business deal with Iran, will face sanctions'

Anyone considering a business deal with Iran needs to be aware of the potential risk of sanctions from the United States, a US official said on Tuesday. The staunch warning from the US came as the Iranian President vowed to increase trade volume with Pakistan.

Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Washington Updated on: April 24, 2024 8:09 IST
Shehbaz Sharif with Ebrahim Raisi during latter's visit to Pakistan
Image Source : @FOREIGNOFFICEPK/X Shehbaz Sharif with Ebrahim Raisi during the latter's visit to Pakistan

The United States on Tuesday warned Pakistan of massive sanctions, if it considers any business deal with Iran. "Just let me say broadly, we advise anyone considering business deals with Iran to be aware of the potential risk of sanctions," Vedant Patel, Deputy Spokesperson of the US State Department.

The latest came a day after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi landed in Pakistan and had multiple meetings with top officials including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President Asif Ali Zardari. During the meeting, Raisi exhibited displeasure with the current business volume between Iran and Pakistan.

The leaders agreed to increase the trade volume between the two countries to $10 billion. Raisi asserted that the existing volume was “not acceptable”. "We are committed to strengthening relations at high levels. […] Economic and trade volume between Iran and Pakistan is not acceptable. We have decided as a first step to increase trade volume between our two countries to $10bn," Dawn quoted Raisi as saying.

Why the US warns Pakistan of sanctions

Meanwhile, responding to the question on possible trade between Pakistan and Iran, the Pentagon said: "Anyone considering a business deal with Iran needs to be aware of the potential risk of sanctions from the United States". However, the US official, said Islamabad can speak to their own foreign policy pursuits. "But ultimately, the government of Pakistan can speak to their own foreign policy pursuits," said Patel.

The US had imposed multiple sanctions on Tehran in 1979 in response to its nuclear program. Besides, the Pentagon also penalised Iran for its support for Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestine Islamic Jihad, which are considered terrorist organisations by the United States.

It is worth mentioning Iran and Pakistan had signed a multi-billion dollar to build a gas pipeline in June 2009. Although Tehran had finished installing a 900 km pipeline on its side by 2011, Islamabad is yet to finish the project of installing 80 km on its side. After missing multiple deadlines, annoyed Tehran, had warned to drag it into the international court and also alerted to impose a fine of $18 billion. Although Pakistan has recently pledged to finish the project by September this year, it is unlikely Islamabad will complete it. It fears US sanctions as it mentioned in its earlier excuses. 

Now, with the latest warning, it is quite possible that Islamabad will not carry forward with its plans.

US imposed sanctions on suppliers to Pakistan's ballistic missile programme

Early this week, the US imposed sanctions on suppliers to Pakistan's ballistic missile programme, including three companies from China. "The sanctions were made because these were entities that were proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and the means of their delivery. These were entities based in the PRC (People's Republic of China), in Belarus, and that we have witnessed to have supplied equipment and other applicable items to Pakistan's ballistic missile programme," Patel said.

"They are following our October 23 designation of three PRC entities who have worked to supply Pakistan's missile programme. We are going to continue to disrupt and take actions against proliferation networks and concerning weapons of mass destruction procurement activities, wherever they may occur," he added.

At a separate news conference, Pentagon Press Secretary Patt Ryder said the US maintains good relations with Pakistan. "They are an important security partner in the region," he said.

Also Read: Pakistan: PM Shehbaz rakes up Kashmir issue with visiting Iranian President Raisi I DETAILS

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