Iran to sign MoU with Pakistan on maritime search, rescue

Iran and Pakistan are to finalize an agreement on cooperation in the field of maritime search and rescue, an Iranian official has announced.

Alireza Khojasteh, a senior official at Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran, said on Wednesday that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed between the two neighboring countries in the near future to improve security at sea and to facilitate search and rescue operations carried out by the two sides in the Sea of Oman and in the Persian Gulf.

The announcement came a day after Pakistani sources revealed that a long-awaited agreement on maritime cooperation between Iran and Pakistan will be inked soon.

Pakistan Today said in a Tuesday report that despite objections raised by several Arab countries in the Persian Gulf region, Pakistan was intent on signing the deal with Iran.

The report said the Iranian government had given the go-ahead for a meeting where the MoU could be finalized.

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It said a draft proposed by Iran has already been reviewed and approved by Pakistan’s Ministry of Defense and the country’s Ministry of Law and Justice.

The MoU has waited for scrutiny in Iran since a March 2016 visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Islamabad when the Iranians said they had second thoughts about the document.

The signing of the agreement could accelerate Pakistan’s plans for launching a passenger shipping line between Karachi and the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas in southern Iran

Pakistani official said in April during a visit by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to Tehran that the shipping line was of great importance since it could serve tens of thousands of passengers who travel from Pakistan to Iran each year for religious purposes.

Pakistan’s Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi said at the time that the launch of the passenger line was waiting for security clearances.

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