Trump asked me to be go-between with Iran: Imran Khan

October 16, 2019 - 19:7

TEHRAN – Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan says U.S. President Donald Trump has asked him to mediate between Tehran and Washington during his visit to New York.

“You should try and go between Iran and the United States,” Khan quoted Trump as saying, in an interview with CNN on Tuesday night.

He also expressed optimism about possible improvements in the Iran-U.S. ties.

The Pakistani prime minister said that during his recent visit to Iran, he also spoke to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani about the U.S. offer.

He added that the situation was evolving and he would not go into details.

“Let’s see, it gets anywhere. I did not go into too much detail, until there is response from both sides,” Khan remarked.

Commenting on President Trump, he said that the people often criticize him but “I think, what I like in him that he does not believe in wars.”

Trump ditched a UN-backed nuclear deal with Iran more than a year ago. Since then, he has slapped harsh economic sanctions on Iran while at the same time asking for talks with the country.

Tehran insists that the only path to negotiations between Tehran and Washington is that the United States lift all the sanctions that it has illegally and unilaterally imposed on Iran. 

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said last month that there will be no negotiations between Iran and the United States at any level or any place.

“All officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran unanimously agree that there will be no negotiations with America at any level either in New York or any other place,” the Leader asserted.

However, Ayatollah Khamenei said if the U.S. “repents” and returns to the nuclear deal that it has violated it can participate in the negotiations with Iran along with other parties to the nuclear agreement.

Pakistan’s Imran Khan visited Iran on Sunday, accompanied by a senior political team.

Khan said his visit was aimed to “facilitate” possible dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia whose relations have been cut and caught in a kind of conflict over a series of issues, mainly the Saudi war on Yemen and Riyadh’s support for Trump’s anti-Iran moves.

“Iran welcomes good intention and efforts by the Pakistani prime minister to settle tension in the region to restore peace and stability to the region,” Rouhani said during a joint press conference with Khan.

Rouhani also said Iran has informed Pakistan about Tehran’s position on the 2015 nuclear deal and elaborated on the ways that the United States can return to the deal and lift sanctions.

Following his trip to Iran, Khan paid an official visit to Riyadh as part of his mediation efforts between Tehran and Riyadh.

Tensions in the Persian Gulf spiked last month after attacks on Saudi oil facilities that halved the kingdom’s crude output and set oil markets alight.

Yemen’s Houthi movement claimed responsibility. But Saudi Arabia and some Western countries, including the U.S., blamed Tehran.

Tehran has denied involvement and warned of “all-out war” in the event of any attack on its territory.

On Friday morning, two separate explosions, possibly caused by missile attacks, also hit an Iranian-owned oil tanker off the Saudi coast in the Red Sea.

The explosions hit the vessel’s hull, causing heavy damages to the ship’s two main tanks, which resulted in an oil spill in the Red Sea. 

Saudi Arabia later said it was not involved in the incident.


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