Prime Minister Imran Khan would undertake a visit to Iran in a few days, said his Special Assistant Naeem-ul-Haq on Friday (Oct 11). He said during his visit to the Islamic Republic, the prime minister would hold meetings with Iranian leadership.
As per details, prime minister would first travel to Iran where he will have a night stay. His meeting with President Hassan Rouhani has been scheduled for Sunday. He will later in the day go to Riyadh for meetings with the Saudi leadership.
The mediation initiative is being taken at the request of Saudi Arabia. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had during Mr Khan’s last visit to Saudi Arabia asked him to help defuse tensions with Iran as Saudi Arabia wanted to avoid war. Iranians have expressed their readiness to accept the offer, but have made it conditional to the US and other western forces leaving the region.
U.S.-Iran tensions have risen to new highs since May 2018, when the Trump administration withdrew from a 2015 international nuclear accord with Tehran that put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of sanctions. Since May, the US has increased the number of its forces by about 14,000 in the Central Command area covering the Middle East, the defense department said.
In September, the US announced deployment of 200 troops as well as Patriot missiles to the kingdom in the wake of the attacks on Saudi oil installations blamed on Iran. Friday’s announcement came after the owner of an Iranian oil tanker said suspected missile strikes hit the vessel off the Saudi west coast port of Jeddah, raising fresh concerns about Middle East oil supply.
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