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Pak-Iran Relation Since 1947 PDF Print E-mail

The paper focuses on Pakistan's relations with the Muslim Countries, particularly with the neighboring countries, constitutes an important aspect of foreign policy. The neighboring border Muslim countries of Pakistan specifically Iran, not only supported the creation of Pakistan but established friendly relations after her creation and with the passage of time these relations became stronger and strengthened further the article concentrates on the Baghdad pact, which was milestone in Pak-Iran geo-political geo- strategic relations. The same views and convergence of interests of the two countries compelled them to make friendly relations with USA; reference to their security and economy along with Iran's moral and political and diplomatic support to Pakistan during two Indo - Pak wars. The significance of the present analysis stems out same views; convergence of interests and understandings between the two countries due to geo-strategic and socio-economic relations towards their friendship since 1947.
Iran support for Pakistan in the post war (1971 war) period was total. Iran supported Pakistan whole heartedly in the 93000 prisoners of war dispute. Iran assured Pakistan security and territorial integrity.

Iran welcomed the conclusion of Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan. The Shah of Iran appreciated Zulfiqar Ali Bhotto but soon the relations between the two countries turned tense due to Bhatto determined efforts towards the Arab World. This was strongly apposed by Iran because there were centuries old bitter relations between Iran and Arabs.
Zia accession to power opened a new chapter in Pak-Iran relations. The relations during the time ofZia-ul-Haq were normal but not cordial. Their came Islamic revo lution in Iran which opened a new chapter in Pakistan's Iran relations.

Baghdad Pact
One of the characteristic of small power behaviour is to have closer relations with either a superpower or a great power so as to guard its security interests. David Vital has called this the "Pilot- Fish" behaviour of keeping close to the shark to avoid being eaten.\ Given the geographic proximity of the Soviet Union to both Iran and Pakistan it seems logical to think that both these states would have tried to cultivate the friendship of the USSR. A change in Pakistan's policy came when the USA showed its disillusionment with India after India's Prime Minister visited Washington in 1949. Meanwhile Pakistan had received an invitation for its prime Minister for a visit to Moscow. A similar invitation was secured later from the United States. Pakistan's Prime Minister LiaquatAIi Khan decided in favour of going to the United States. Two factors seem to have motivated this change of preference. One could be that Pakistan tried to exploit the disillusionment of US administration in winning over India to their anti-communist alliance system to its own benefit. The second factor could be the fact that the USA was both technologically and economically far ahead ofthe USSR in the late forties and the early fifties. Economic benefits from the United States could, therefore, be an important factor in Pakistan's preference for the Americans. This has later been acknowledged by Pakistan's President, Ayoub Khan.2
Viewed from the point of the United States, it would not be out of place here to mention that two of the fundamental conditions of a successful foreign policy established by Richelieu: Ie secret and I unite de direction are particularly impossible to create in America and hence it is an ideal terrain for small state manipulation. The governmental structure in the United States based upon the theory of separation of powers with checks and balances among three organs of government upon each-other makes the Congress and also the public more vocal and important in foreign policy matters. The US administration was therefore, prepared to go to only a limited extent in being friendly with India and when the latter refused to cooperate in the anti-communist alliance, United States took up Pakistan as a counterweight against India in the subcontinent. As regards the US choice for Iran beginning with Frenklin D. Roosevelt, who characterized Iran as the "bridge to victory" in the Second World War, every US President has acknowledged the strategic importance of the country located atthe crossroads between East and West, between Asia, Europe and Africa and also considered its importance for its oil wealth.J
Iran had already ruled out any proximity with the Soviet Union. When the Baghdad Pact was concluded with the initiative of the US, comprising Iraq, Turkey and Britain, Iran also became a member of the Pact. This Pact was renamed the Centrial Treaty Organisation when Iraq withdrew from it in 1958. USA won a supporter against the communists and Iran gained the support of the United States in keeping the new-born monarchy propped up.
The CENTO was later joined by Pakistan too which had already signed the Mutual Defence Assistance Agreement with the US in 1954 and had later become the member ofthe US-sponsored South EastAsia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) in 1955. .
Thus in the fifties, Pakistan and Iran came closer to each other through their common friendship with the US and participation in the US-sponsored alliance systems such as the CENTO. Inside the CENTO too both these counties shared identical approach to various procedural matters. It were only Pakistan and Iran who insisted that a unified command structure be imposed on the CENTO Army.4 Probably the reason for this was that whereas the other CENTO members were also members of other defence alliances or had their independent or bi-Iateral defence arrangements such was not the case with either Iran or Pakistan wich were weak initially. Pakistan and Iran continued to collaborate under the auspices ofthe CENTO till Iran left it after the fall of Shah in 1979.

The Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD)
A small state has also possibilities for defending its interests against great power in bilateral relationships outside international institutional framework. They can also develop their regional institutions to safeguard their national interests. The Regional Cooperation for Development, a tripartite agreement among Turkey, Iran and Pakistan for non-political cooperation, born in 1964, was one such regional arrangement came largely from Ayoub Khan, the President of Pakistan who was critical of the US acting as a "master" dictating terms against India rather than behaving as a "Friend" .5
The formation of the RCD proved a very useful for the Shah of Iran and Ayoub Khan for winning support to their respective governments at home. The "Liberation" from the US was hailed by the opposition in both countries. Yusuf Khatak, the leader of the opposition in the Pakistan National Assembly called it a "Step in the right direction".6 Similarly another member of the Assembly said that RCD members will be able to "get rid of the curse of CENTO".7 There were certain discordant notes as well, but these were not of much significance as they came from staunch friends of the USA who would not see the demerits of the US friendship.s The reaction to the formation of the RCD in Tehran was also highly favourable. Senate President Jafar Sharif Emami described the Union as a political master stroke, but perhaps emphasizing the non-political content of the Agreement added, "I believe in particular, that there is a good place in the Union for Afghanistan".9

The Majlis speaker Abdullah Riazi commenting on the Union said, "It would contribute to development of the member nations and to the cause of world peace".10 Premier HasanAli Mansur Speaking at Sanaday, the capital city ofKurdistan, hailed the Iran-Pak- Turkey decision on closer cooperation as a great political, social, economic and cultural union of 150 million Muslims.11

The India Factor in Pak - Iran Relations
As referred to earlier, Pakistan sought to cultivate the friendship of its Muslim neighbors in order to strengthen itself against India and gain diplomatic support over various issues against India in the UN. In the late forties and fifties Iran was not hostilIe to India but it was clearly more friendly towards Pakistan. It was the first Muslim country to recognize Pakistan.12
Iran gave diplomatic support to Pakistan over Kashmir, the most crucial test of a country's friendship in the eyes of Pakistan. In the Iranian Parliament Kashmir was discussed as an "inseparable part of Pakistan". Deputy Speaker, Sayed Ahmed Sarai said:
We believe the decision of the Security Council should be binding, and the Kashmir issue settled through plebiscite under the auspices of United Nations. It is, however, regrettable that India on the one hand criticized even defence arrangements as envisaged in the Baghdad Pact and on the other hand believed in the outmoded maxim of might is rightl3
In 1952 Iran volunteered to act as a mediator between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue but the tilt was clearly in Pakistan's favour. Iran's Foreign Minister Ardeshir Zahedi, for instance, declared that "Iran had been telling India to solve the kashmir problem with Pakistan on the basis of self-determination" .14
In 1956 when India showed her resentment over the mention of Kashmir issue in the Baghdad Pact ministerial communiques, Iran did not pay any heed to India's
The real test ofIran- Pakistan friendship, however, came during the two Indo-Pakwars ofl965 and 1971.16

Time Tested Friend
The. first instance of military assistance from Iran to Pakistan was the 1965 Indo-Pak War. Iran considered the defence of Pakistan its own defence. Abdur Rasul Azimi, the editor or Paigham-ilmroze Clearly stated that "Iran came out to help Pakistan against Indian aggression with full consciousness that it was helping the defense. 17 0 Its own country.
The official Iranian circle also confirmed this. A statement issued by the Iranian Foreign Minister declared that Iran was concerned about India's aggression against Pakistan, a fraternal Muslim Nation.'8
Iran's supply of arms to Pakistan was no secret. YB Chavan, India's Minister for Defence informed the Rajya Sabha on 2nd August 1965 that besides China, Iran and Turkey were also supplying arms to Pakistan.'9 In response to earlier Indian statements, the Shah of Iran had accepted the fact that Iran was supplying arms to Pakistan. He had also justified his stand on the ground that had Iran not helped Pakistan with arms, Pakistan would have certainly jumped into the Chinese lap.2O

Warof1971 and Iranian Response
Pakistan received full military and diplomatic support from Iran again in the 1971 war against India.
Iran called Indian attack as an "aggression" and the Indian action as interference in Pakistan's domestic affairs. The Shah of Iran in an interview to a Paris paper openly acknowledged, "We are opposed to all interference in its (Pakistan's) internal affairs, we are hundred per cent behind Pakistan".21 The Iranian Prime Minister also toed his ruler's line and said that "Pakistan was being subjected to violence and force".22
Iran's attitude and actions in both the Indo-Pak wars show that though Iran was pro-Pakistan, it was hesitant in totally spoiling its relations with India. Iran tried again and again to make it clear that it did not want the dismemberment of Pakistan because that would have adversely affected the domestic stability and security ofIran. The Kurds in Iran would be encouraged to rise up against the Iranian government and thus jeopardize the security of Iran. In the same vein, Iran tried to justify the supply of arms to Pakistan on the ground that in its desperation Pakistan may fall into the Chinese lap. Further, as, a positive proof of their continuing good relations with India, Iran did not either stop or slow down the flow of oil supplies to India. During the later oil crisis too, Iran did not create much financial hardship.23 .
Though Iran and Pakistan have never been hostile to each other yet there, have been times when they have taken widely divergent stands on various issues. This divergence has been dictated by the fact that whereas Pakistan thought and acted as a small power, Iran, in the late sixties and the seventies considered itself as a medium range power. In addition to this, Iran's total dependence on the US for its economic development and military build-up won for it the hostility of Arab States. It was not merely an accident that while almost the whole of the Muslim world including Pakistan was in favour of the boycott oflsrael after the burning of AI-Aqsa Mosque on 21 st August 1969, Iran and Turkey refused to follow suit. Similarly, the Shah ofIran did not attend the Islamic Conference in Lahore because Gaddafi of Libya was invited to it despite the known hostility of the Shah for Gaddafi. A few months before his removal, Bhutto was reported to have paid a visit to Iran to win Iranian support over the nuclearisation of Pakistan. Though the Iranian reaction was not known; yet there were indications that the Shah had refused to oblige Bhutto.24

By way of summing up, one can safely say that the two small powers under discussion have shown remarkable consistency in their relations with each other despite certain minor ups and downs. Their bilateral relations made them important for the other regional powers-specially India. Their individual strategic locations made them important for the superpowers for keeping their hold on the oil-rich region of Asia.

J David Vital, N. 9,p. 33.
2 Ayub Khan, Friends not Masters (Lahore: 1967), p. vii.
J Rouhollah K. Ramazani, "Emerging Pattern of Regional Relation in Iranian Foreign Polity", Orbis, Vol. 18. No.4, 1975, p. 1043.
4 S.M. Burke, Pakistan Foreign Policy, p. 171.
5 Ayub Khan, n. 22.
6 Pakistan, National Assembly Debates, Vol. 3. Part. 2. 1964, p. 1212. 7 Ibid., 1245.
8 Ibid., p. 1245.
9 Dawn, 29 July 1964.
10 Ibid.
11 Ibid.
12 Dawn, 1 November 1956.
tJ Dawn, 22 December 1955.
14 The Patriot, 16 May 1962.
15 Asian Recorder, Vol. 2, 1956, p. 847.
16 For a detailed account of the wars see, Herbett Foldman, From Crisis to Crisis Pakistan 1962-1969 (London: 1972), The End and the Beginning of Pakistan (London: 1975), H.R. Gupts, India-P ak War, Vol. 1 & 16New Delhi: 1968, and Kutch Affair (Delhi: 1969).
17 Dawn, 10 May 1965.
18 Asian Recorder, 1-7 October 1'967, p. 6695. 19 Ibid, 27 August, 2 September 1966, p. 7254. 20 Ibid, 12-19 August 1996, p. 7235.
21 Illustrated Weekly of India, 10th October 1971. 22 Dawn, 15 December 1971.
The Statesman, 15 January 1974.
24 Dewan Berindernath, "No Noise About Bhutto's Visit to Iran". The
patriot, 17 January 1977.



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