April 23, 2024 | Flash Brief

Iranian President in Pakistan, Pledges to Strengthen Ties

April 23, 2024 | Flash Brief

Iranian President in Pakistan, Pledges to Strengthen Ties

Latest Developments

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in Islamabad on April 22, kicking off a three-day visit to Pakistan. Raisi’s trip comes three months after Iran and Pakistan exchanged airstrikes targeting hostile militants that take refuge on the other’s territory. The episode caused a diplomatic rift, but Tehran and Islamabad are now mending ties. “We decided to promote the bilateral relations between the two countries at political, economic, trade, culture, including others, at all levels as far as possible,” Raisi noted at a joint press conference with Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif the day of his arrival. In a series of new agreements, Tehran and Islamabad committed to boost economic relations and strengthen security cooperation. Islamabad also expressed support for Iran’s “strong stand on the issue of Palestine.”

Expert Analysis

“Tehran’s and Islamabad’s bilateral relations have long been characterized by fragility and instability. Both sides employ Baluch separatist groups as leverage against one another while also supporting Islamist militant movements within each other’s borders. Moreover, they compete for influence in Afghanistan. Complicating matters further, Pakistan maintains strong security and military bonds with Saudi Arabia, a staunch rival of Tehran. Raisi’s visit aims to mitigate the tensions and prevent further escalation, as both regimes are facing more pressing challenges elsewhere.” — Saeed Ghasseminejad, FDD Senior Iran and Financial Economics Advisor

“In a span of four months, the Islamic Republic of Iran launched ballistic missiles from its own territory against what is understood to be two nuclear-armed nations. This is an indicator of the new and lower threshold of the use of military force by Iran. Raisi’s trip to Islamabad serves to smooth over the implications of the Pakistan strike — something relatively easy since both nations repress their Baluch populations.” — Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD Senior Fellow

Iran and Pakistan Exchange Airstrikes

On January 16, Iran carried out airstrikes inside Pakistan against Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni Baluch terrorist group. Pakistan recalled its ambassador from Iran and, on January 18, and launched retaliatory strikes against the Baluchistan Liberation Army and Baluchistan Liberation Front inside Iran. The Baluchistan Liberation Army, Baluchistan Liberation Front, and Jaish al-Adl are U.S. designated terrorist organizations.

Pakistan, a New War Front?” by Jonathan Schanzer

Pakistan-Iran tensions: What’s next as countries escalate attacks?” by Seth J. Frantzman

Iran’s grasp is loosening on its eastern borders,” by Janatan Sayeh


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Politics and Economy Pakistan