Pak urges all stakeholders to demonstrate peace, tolerance as US-Iran tension escalates
Islamabad, May 24 : Amid tense relations between the US and Iran, Pakistan on Friday urged all stakeholders to demonstrate patience and tolerance.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Islamabad wants resolution of all outstanding issues through diplomatic engagement as he held talks with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif.
Zarif arrived in Islamabad on Thursday night. His visit has come after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Iran last month.
Zarif’s visit has come amid a simmering crisis between Iran and the US which recently threatened Tehran with the “strongest sanctions in history” if it does not give up its nuclear weapons programme and destabilising behaviour in the region.
Qureshi said Pakistan would continue its reconciliatory efforts to reduce tension and ensure peace and stability prevails in the region.
He said tension in the region was in no one’s interest, Radio Pakistan reported.
“Pakistan wants resolution of all outstanding issues through diplomatic engagement,” he said.
The foreign minister said all stakeholders needed to demonstrate patience and tolerance.
Zarif said his country values Pakistan’s efforts for establishing peace in the region. He also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and discussed the bilateral relations, the report said.
The Iranian foreign minister is also expected to meet Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser.
National Security Advisor John Bolton warned earlier this month that the US had deployed an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force in the Middle East to send a “clear and unmistakable” message to Iran that any attack on American interests or its allies will be met with “unrelenting force”.
The announcement had come after US President Donald Trump last month refused to give waivers to countries like India from buying oil from Iran, in an attempt to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero.
The US is seeking to ramp up pressure on Iran to counter what the White House perceives to be a potential threat.
Last month, the US designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a Foreign Terrorist Organisation, the first time the designation has been applied to a government entity.
The designation categorises Iran’s military alongside groups like ISIS, al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who controls the elite military force, called the designation a “vicious move” and a “mistake”.
The Trump administration insists that it is not seeking to topple Iran’s Islamist regime, but that it only seeks to push the government to stop supporting proxy militias and terrorist groups and otherwise change its behaviour.
Some of the administration’s critics, however, fear that its actions and rhetoric could provoke the Iranians in a manner that may lead to a military confrontation.