Iran and Pakistan decided on Monday to increase the trade volume between the two countries to $10 billion, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said, saying that the existing volume was “not acceptable”.

The Iranian president arrived in Pakistan for a three-day official visit, the first of its type by any head of state since the general elections on February 8. Raisi made the comments at a joint address with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif after the two met in Islamabad.

Raisi said: “We are committed to strengthening relations at high levels. […] Economic and trade volume between Iran and Pakistan is not acceptable. We have decided as a first step to increase trade volume between our two countries to $10bn.”

At the concurrent press conference, Prime Minister Shehbaz urged preserving Iran-Pakistan relations in spite of obstacles, saying, “We have to keep this relationship strong despite the challenges we both face.”

The prime minister claimed that during their meeting, the two leaders had in-depth conversations about “religious, cultural, diplomatic, investment, and security matters.”

The prime minister predicted that Iran would advance under Raisi’s direction, referring to him as an “ocean of political intelligence and wisdom”.

The prime minister expressed optimism that trade and business might flourish along the shared border, saying, “Pakistan and Iran can prosper and our borders can see progress.”

PM Shehbaz said that he hoped the neighbors’ connection would be “firm and stable,” saying that they had a chance to “make this friendship a happy and prosperous one” today.

The prime minister also said in Farsi: “Our eyes cooled down, heart became joyful after seeing you.” He also recited a verse by Persian poet Mohammad-Taqi Bahar.

Read More: Iranian President arrives in Islamabad on 3-day official visit

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