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Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Tehran Asserts, We Don’t Want Conflict in the Region

Oct. 14, 2019 (EIRNS)—Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was in Tehran on Oct. 13, where he met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif. While there are many issues on the agenda in terms of bilateral and regional relations, Khan stressed that he was in Tehran as part of a mission to reduce tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran in order to prevent war.

“Mr. President, the main reason I came here with my delegation is that we don’t want conflict in the region. Pakistan suffered 70,000 casualties in the last 15 years in the ‘war on terror,’ Afghanistan is still suffering, [there is] terrible devastation in Syria—we don’t want another conflict in this part of the world,”

Khan said, reported Islamabad daily The Dawn.

“Mr. President, we have Iran as a neighbor, our ties with Iran go way back. Saudi Arabia has been one of our closest friends. Saudi Arabia has helped us when we have needed, when we have been in need, and so the reason for this trip was that we don’t want a conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“We recognize that it is a complex issue, but we feel that it can be resolved through dialogue. What should never happen is a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, because this will not just affect this whole region—two brotherly countries will be affected—this will cause poverty in the world. Oil prices will go up.”

“There is vested interest behind this conflict,” Khan added, apparently without elaborating.

Khan’s visit to Tehran will be followed by a visit to Riyadh. He stressed that he was making these visits on Pakistan’s initiative, saying he felt encouraged after his meeting with Rouhani.

“I will go to Saudi Arabia with a positive mind. We would like to play the role of a facilitator and not mediator. We want to facilitate two brotherly Islamic countries,” he said. “It is a complex situation, but it can be resolved.”

As for the U.S.-Iran confrontation, Khan stated that he and Rouhani had discussed how the 2015 nuclear deal, which the U.S. dropped out of in May 2018, could be restored.

“When we were in New York, U.S. President Donald Trump asked us to facilitate some sort of dialogue with Iran and the U.S.,” he said, and stating that Pakistan was aware of the difficulties.

Khan’s intervention was welcomed by the Iranian side.

“I told Prime Minster Imran we welcome any gesture by Pakistan for peace in the region and appreciate his visit to our country,” said Rouhani. He stated that the two leaders had discussed, among other things, the war in Yemen and the sanctions by the United States on Iran. “Regional issues have to be resolved through regional means and dialogue. We also emphasized that any goodwill gesture will be responded to with a goodwill gesture and good words,” said the Iranian President. Rouhani said that both leaders agreed that the key to establishing peace in the region was to stop the war in Yemen. He added that discussions were also held on the U.S. sanctions and how the Iran nuclear deal could be returned to its previous position.

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