Iran welcomes Pakistan’s efforts to reduce tension in the region: ex-diplomat

October 13, 2019

TEHRAN - Former Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Rahimpour has said that Iran welcomes efforts by Pakistan to reduce tension in the Middle East region.

“Compared to other countries, Pakistan has better and more acceptable record for mediation which affects Iran’s view,” he told IRNA in an interview published on Sunday.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, visited Tehran on Sunday for talks with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. Khan will then visit Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. His visits are in line with playing a mediatory role to reduce tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Rahimpour said, “There are main powers in the world of Islam which are Iran and Saudi Arabia, and tension in their relations affects the world of Islamic and also Pakistan. In other words, tension in relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia causes tension in Pakistan.”

He noted that any effort in line with reducing tension and promoting dialogue is “positive”.

In an article published by the Etemad daily on Sunday, Rahimpour wrote that Iran trusts Pakistan as an intermediary.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran trusts both Pakistan and Iraq as intermediaries. This trust will throw the ball at Saudis’ court and put them in a difficult situation to accept dialogue or reject mediation,” the former deputy foreign minister wrote.

The Pakistani prime minister visited Tehran on Sunday as tension in the region is getting more complicated. On October 11, an Iranian oil tanker was struck by two missiles in the Red Sea, 60 miles away from the Saudi coastlines. 

Riyadh and the United States had blamed Iran for the September 14 drone attacks on the Saudi oil facilities without presenting a substantial evidence. Yemen, which is under attack by the Saud-led coalition, had taken responsibility for the attack.

Khan had earlier said that he was making an effort to mediate between Tehran and Riyadh. He held talks with Saudi Arabia’s leaders in Riyadh, as well as Rouhani at the United Nations headquarters in New York in September.

In an interview with Al Jazeera published on October 1, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said that Tehran is open to starting a dialogue with Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region.

“An Iranian-Saudi dialogue could solve many of the region’s security and political problems,” Larijani predicted.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on September 30 that he believes Saudi Arabia is looking to de-escalate tensions with Iran.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, he said, “Everybody is open to dialogue.”

“Iran says [it is] willing to negotiate if sanctions are lifted; the U.S. [also] asks for dialogue ... neither does Saudi Arabia close the door for dialogue,” Abdul Mahdi said.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes program aired on September 29 that he  preferred a peaceful resolution with Iran, describing it as “much better than the military” option.

NA/PA

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