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Pakistan Army Chief Meets Iranian President To Improve Ties

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi met Pakistan’s army chief, Syed Asim Munir, during a three-day visit to Pakistan as the two countries aim to deepen ties after a year marked by conflict.

Tensions escalated three months ago when Pakistan conducted airstrikes in southeastern Iran following attacks by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards within Pakistani territory. Both countries stated that their strikes aimed at “terrorist hideouts”, both ended up with civilian deaths including women and children. 

Iran claimed its operations targeted bases of the Sunni militant group Jaish al-Adl, while Pakistan said its attacks were directed at insurgents generally referred to as “Sarmachar.”

During his visit, Raisi also held discussions with Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The two countries restored diplomatic relations in January after the border clashes had seen ambassadors recalled for a short period. In January, a joint naval exercise was held by the two nations off the coast of Bandar Abbas, involving combat vessels and missile-launching warships.

The relationship between Pakistan and Iran has been complex. Iran sees Pakistan as influenced by Islamabad’s historically closer ties to Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Earlier this year, the US blocked a planned gas line project revival between Pakistan and Iran, warning it would result in more US sanctions. It has been on hold for over a decade.