Pakistani PM Wants to Set Up Talks Between Saudi Arabia and Iran as Regional Tensions Rise

Saudi minister denies that Riyadh is behind Friday's strike on Iranian-owned oil tanker in the Red Sea

Iranian President Hassan Rohani with Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan after their joint press conference in the Iranian capital Tehran, October 13, 2019.

As tensions escalate between regional foes Iran and Saudi Arabia, Pakistan will do its utmost to enable talks between the two countries, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday during a visit to Tehran. 

“Pakistan does not want conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia...I am happy to facilitate talks between Tehran and Riyadh...I am very hopeful as I had constructive talks with the (Iranian) president,” Khan told a joint news conference with President Hassan Rohani, broadcast live on state TV.

Khan's remarks follow a strike Friday on an Iranian-owned oil tanker in the Red Sea. Iranian state TV reported that the tanker was hit by missiles, but denied accounts that they came from Saudi Arabia.

Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, told reporters in Riyadh that Saudi Arabia was not behind the attack.

“We did not engage in such behavior at all. This is not how we operate and that’s not how we did (it) in the past,” al-Jubeir said. “The story is still not complete. So let’s wait and find out what happened before we jump to conclusions.”

Khan arrived in Tehran on Sunday and will later meet Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He added that he will travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.