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Iranian foreign minister visits Pakistan following restoration of diplomatic relations

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Iranian foreign minister visits Pakistan following restoration of diplomatic relations

Photo: Reuters

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian begins a visit to Pakistan today.

Abdollahian’s visit comes days after both countries resumed diplomatic ties following a military exchange on their shared border.

On January 16, Iran conducted missile strikes on alleged terror targets inside Pakistan. Islamabad responded with counterstrikes on separatist militants inside Iran and suspended diplomatic relations. The Sunni terrorist group, Islamic State (IS), and other anti-state insurgents have been active along the border between the two countries for years attacking Shiite Muslims in both countries.

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While Abdollahian’s visit is an encouraging show of de-escalation between the two countries, Iran’s recent strike on Pakistani soil—a US ally—may potentially be a signal to both Washington, following US attacks on Iranian proxies in the Red Sea, and to other regional neighbors aligned with the US. On the other hand, the Iranian attacks may have been a routine response to an IS attack as part of the broader sectarian struggle in the region. The recent flare-up reflects a new dimension in Iranian-Pakistani tensions which historically have not seen Pakistani retaliation to Iranian attacks. As a result, the US may reconsider Pakistan’s role in regional strategic calculations and be less deterred from striking targets in Iran.

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