The new Iranian revolution of 1979 surprised the world, and the ayatollah`s threats to export ultra-conservative Shiite revolutionary influence to Iran`s neighboring regions eventually led to the Sunni and secular Iraq of Saddam Hussein, backed by the United States and the rest of the Arab world, invading the country in 1980. The invasion marked the beginning of the deadly Iran-Iraq war, which lasted eight years until 1988. After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent victory of the Afghan mujahideen, the rivalry between Iran and Pakistan intensified when the mujahideen split into several factions and no longer need a union against foreign invaders.  After 1989, Iran`s and Pakistan`s policies in Afghanistan became increasingly different, as Pakistan under Benazir Bhutto explicitly supported Taliban forces in Afghanistan during the civil wars that erupted after the end of the Soviet-Afghan war.  This led to a major rift in which Iran moved closer to Pakistan`s rival India.  Pakistan`s unwavering and continued support for the Sunni Taliban organization in Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal became a problem for Shiite Iran, which opposed Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.  The Pakistan-backed Taliban fought the Iranian-backed Northern Alliance in Afghanistan and took control of 90 percent of the country, including the capital Kabul. The Taliban founded the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and began to impose an ultra-conservative and radical Wahhabi regime.  As one Pakistani foreign service officer noted, it was difficult to maintain good relations with Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United States and Iran at the same time, given the rivalry between each state and another, and in particular Iran`s rivalry with all three.  In 1995, Bhutto made a long state visit to Iran, which greatly facilitated relations. Sanctions against Pakistan and India, however, have not prevented either country from continuing to carry out further testing. Pakistan is now the seventh country in the world to acquire nuclear weapons (after the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, France, China and India). Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recognized Pakistan`s nuclear capabilities and tests on 7 September 1997.
 Iran immediately condemned Pakistan for its nuclear tests and blamed Pakistan for global ”nuclear proliferation.”  The Minister stated that while Iran and Pakistan are two important countries in the region, they have not yet made good use of their economic capabilities. He said trade barriers to free trade between Tehran and Islamabad would be removed within the next three months. Since 2000, relations between Iran and Pakistan have begun to normalize and economic cooperation has intensified. The September 11 attacks on the United States changed the foreign policy priorities of Iran and Pakistan.  The George W. . . .