Iranian President Raisi’ visit: US warns Pakistan of sanctions risk

Iranian President Raisi’ visit: US warns Pakistan of sanctions risk

Islamabad: The United States has warned Pakistan of the risk of sanctions after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’ visit to Pakistan.

Raisi concluded his three-day trip on Wednesday as the neighbouring countries said they would increase bilateral trade to $10bn a year over the next five years, from the current $2billion.

The US Department of State cautioned the Pakistani government of engaging in business deals with Iran.

“We advise anyone considering business deals with Iran to be aware of the potential risk of sanctions. But ultimately, the government of Pakistan can speak to their own foreign policy pursuits,” spokesperson Vedant Patel said during a news briefing.

Pakistan’s foreign office said the two sides additionally agreed to cooperate in the energy sector including trade in electricity, power transmission lines and the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.

The gas pipeline project has languished for more than a decade because of political turmoil and international sanctions.

Foreign policy expert Muhammad Faisal said the United States threats of sanctions are merely meant to dissuade Pakistan and “increase the cost of doing business with Iran”. "Formal trade and banking activity between the two nations will be slow, as Pakistani banks are reluctant to do direct business with Iranian banks,” he added.