Iran has expressed reservations about the appointment of Pakistan's former army chief General Raheel Sharif, as commander of the Saudi-led Islamic military alliance.
The Iranian news agency, IRNA, said that Iran's Ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost had conveyed Tehran's concerns about the appointment.
"We are anxious that this issue may affect the unity of Islamic countries," Honardoost told the Pakistani media. "Iran is not satisfied with this choice and has not yet accepted the decision," he said.
Iran is not satisfied with this choice and has not yet accepted the decision.
The news agency revealed that Iran was not invited to join the coalition, but had informed Islamabad that Tehran would not become part of the military alliance. He also pointed out that Pakistan had contacted Iran to confirm a no-objection certificate (NOC) had been issued by the Pakistani government to allow the retired general to become head of the alliance. Under Pakistani law, any former official must obtain government approval before assuming any new official position.
General Sharif, who is due to take office later this month, confirmed media reports that he had initially refused to accept the appointment unless Iran was part of the coalition. According to observers, Pakistan has struggled over the years to maintain its neutrality between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
In January, Pakistan's Defence Minister, Khawaja Mohammad Asif, announced in a talk show that General Sharif had been appointed as the leader of the Saudi led 40-nation alliance. The formation of an Islamic military alliance to fight terrorism, with its headquarters in Riyadh, was announced by Saudi Arabia in mid-December 2015.