ISLAMABAD - Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Hoonardost yesterday said the Saudi Arabia-led 34-state alliance against terrorism was ridiculous as some of the partners themselves were promoting the menace.

The Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism is an inter-governmental military alliance of 34 countries united for military intervention against ISIL and other counter-terrorist activities.

More than 10 other Islamic countries, including Indonesia, have expressed their support for the alliance while Azerbaijan is discussing joining the alliance.

Saudi Arabia counts Pakistan as a leading member, but Islamabad has not yet formally announced its association with the alliance.

Riyadh has also invited Afghanistan to join its newly formed Islamic Military Alliance against Terrorism. The organization is based at a joint command centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Its creation was first announced by Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Minister for Defence, on December 15 last year.

The alliance’s primary objective is to protect the Muslim countries from all terrorist groups and terrorist organizations irrespective of their sects and names. The coalition has stated it will fight terrorists in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan.

The alliance has reaffirmed that it would operate in line with the United Nations and Organization of Islamic Conference provisions on terrorism. The new coalition is expected to deploy military forces in Syria to fight ISIS.

Iranian envoy Mehdi Hoonardost said some of the members of the ‘ridiculous’ alliance were extending all-out support to terrorist militias in the Middle East conflict.

Speaking at a ‘meet the press’ programme here at the National Press Club, he said four major Islamic countries of the Islamic block were out of the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia. He believed the loosely arranged fledgling alliance had a conflicting agenda.

Hoonardost said Iran had an important status in Middle Eastern region and integrated approach was needed to eliminate terrorism.

The envoy said Pakistan was also greatly affected by terrorism and unified approach was required to halt terrorist activities in both the countries.

“Terrorism is a global phenomenon and some countries are providing logistic and financial support to terrorists against Iran and Pakistan as well in the whole region,” he claimed.

To a question regarding the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Daesh, he said both the countries needed more cooperation and coordination to deal with terrorism.

Hoonardost said Pakistan and Iran had a shared history of cordial relations rooted in centuries. He said both the countries had been engaged in religious, political, economic, commercial and cultural relations.

He welcomed Pakistan’s energy agreement with $ 16 billion liquefied natural gas agreement with Qatar and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline to enhance the energy cooperation in the region.

The envoy said Pakistan had huge doorstep opportunities to get gas from Iran, adding Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline would enhance the trade and economic relations between both the countries. “Iran also wants to provide cheap energy for industrial and economic progress of Pakistan,” he said.

Hoonardost said both the countries would ink several agreements like power during the upcoming visit of President Hassan Rouhani. He said Iran would export 1,000MW electricity to Pakistan.

“We want to enhance trade volume with Pakistan from $ 100 million to $ 5 billion in the coming years to strengthen the relations between both the brotherly countries,” he added.

The Iranian envoy dispelled the impression that Iran surrendered to the United States over the nuclear deal and said, “We have told the world and the international community that nobody gave us this knowledge, so nobody can take it as it is in our minds.

However, he added, Iran had made it clear even before the deal that it would not make nuclear weapons. He said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani planned to undertake a visit to Islamabad most likely on March 25-26. However, the dates have yet to be finalised.

Hoonardost said during the upcoming visit of the Iranian president both the countries would find out new avenues and sign agreements for cooperation in different sectors.

“Iran is committed to enhancing bilateral cooperation with Pakistan for better life of the peoples of the two countries,” he said.

Economic cooperation between Pakistan and Iran would create job opportunities in both the countries, he said. “We need to curtail the black economy on both sides of the border,” he added.