ISLAMABAD - President Asif Ali Zardari is arriving in Tehran today on a two-day official visit to discuss issues of bilateral and regional importance with the Iranian leadership.

Besides Islamabad and Tehran, the visit will be seen anxiously by Washington which has been putting pressure to prevent the two neighbourly states from going ahead with vital energy projects, particularly the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project.

Two other important energy projects that are under consideration are construction of an oil refinery by Iran at Gwadar Port and import of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) from Iran to Pakistan at a discounted rate.

Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said on Tuesday that the visit was part of the ongoing contacts at the leadership level to further strengthen the bilateral relations and to consult each other on regional and international issues of mutual concern.

He said that the president has been urging for further strengthening of the bilateral relations and for early completion of the mega projects between the two countries and expressed the hope that the visit would lend further impetus to the efforts aimed at early completion of these projects. He said the visit is a manifestation of the great importance Pakistan attaches to its relations with Iran.

Some other sources privy to specifics of president’s Iran visit said that besides discussing Afghanistan and the regional situation in general, energy projects being undertaken by Iran and Pakistan would be vital subject of consideration during President Zardari’s visit.

 Different MoUs including those on installation of oil refinery at Gwadar having a refining capacity of 400,000 barrels per day, import of LPG and furnace oil are expected to be signed during this visit.