Oct 16, 2019 10:41 UTC

The Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan who was in Tehran on Sunday Oct. 13, 2019 to try to defuse rising tensions in the Persian Gulf, said the main reason for his trip is that his country does not "want a new conflict in this region."

He noted that at a meeting held on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, US President Donald Trump had asked him to act as a "facilitator" between Iran and the United States. He said there are difficulties on this path, but Islamabad would do its utmost to help lift sanctions against Iran and implement the Iran nuclear deal by all its signatories.

The following is a news report in this regard by staff writers of website of Iran's English language TV network, Press TV, under the heading: "President Rouhani says no country can create insecurity and expect no answer."

President Hassan Rouhani says no country can create insecurity in the Persian Gulf region and simply get away with it. Rouhani made the remarks in a joint press conference with the visiting Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan in Tehran on Sunday Oct. 13, 2019, after the two sides held detailed discussions on various issues of mutual interest.

Iran's president said "If a country thinks they can create insecurity in the region without getting an answer, they are totally mistaken." He pointed to his discussions with Khan about regional developments and said, "The West Asia, particularly the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, constitute a very critical region in the world. Therefore, during our negotiations, we held talks about the establishment of regional stability and sustainable peace."

Rouhani said he had voiced Iran's concern about security in the Persian Gulf, specifically a missile attack on an Iranian vessel off the Saudi coast during his talks with Pakistan's premier.

Rouhani said: "In the talks, we expressed our concerns about security of oil tankers, especially what happened on Friday Oct. 11, 2019 to an Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea," adding that he gave clues about the incident to the Pakistani prime minister and that investigations would continue to find the main perpetrators behind the attack.

On Friday, the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) reported that the Sabiti tanker had been hit by two separate explosions near the Saudi port city of Jeddah. The blasts caused an oil spill that was stopped shortly after.

Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said on Saturday Oct. 12 that Iran would not let attacks on its vessels go unanswered. The top Iranian security official stated "Piracy and banditry in international waterways, which is done with the aim of making commercial shipping insecure, will not go unanswered."

Tensions have been high in the region after a series of suspicious explosions targeted oil tankers crossing the Strait of Hormuz earlier this year.

Iran's Government Spokesman Ali Rabiei on Saturday described the attack on Sabiti as "cowardly," saying the Islamic Republic will respond after the facts have been probed.

Rabiei said "Iran is avoiding haste, carefully examining what has happened and probing facts," adding, "An appropriate response will be given to the designers of this cowardly attack, but we will wait until all aspects of the plot are clarified."

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani said both Tehran and Islamabad believe regional issues should be solved through political approaches and dialog among countries, adding that cruel sanctions imposed by the United States against the Iranian people are an example of "economic terrorism."

Rouhani said he and Khan discussed ways of getting Iran's landmark nuclear deal with the 5+1 group in 2015 back on the right track. The deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was clinched by Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

The Iranian president said "We also placed emphasis on the key and leading point that the United States must return to the JCPOA and lift sanctions [it has re-imposed on Iran] to settle [the existing] issues."

US President Donald Trump is a stern critic of the nuclear accord, which was clinched by Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. Under the agreement, nuclear-related sanctions against Iran were lifted in exchange for some limitations on Tehran's nuclear program.

Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the deal in May 2018 and unleashed the "toughest ever" sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in a bid to strangle Iranian oil trade.

In response to the White House, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments three times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) announced on October 6 that Tehran will continue to further scale back its commitments under the nuclear deal if the other signatories fail to keep their side of the bargain.

The AEOI's Deputy Head for International, Parliamentary and Legal Affairs, Behrouz Kamalvandi, said the Islamic Republic stands ready to return to the full implementation of its commitments under the JCPOA if the other parties live up to their obligations. "Otherwise, the reduction of the commitments will continue."

The Pakistani prime minister, who was in Tehran to try to defuse rising tensions in the Persian Gulf, said the main reason for his trip is that his country does not "want a new conflict in this region."

Khan said Pakistan has been suffering from these conflicts over the past 15 years and 70,000 people have lost their lives in the fight against terrorism, adding that the Afghan and Syrian people are still suffering from terrorism.

He noted that at a meeting held on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, President Trump had asked him to act as a "facilitator" between Iran and the United States.

He said there are difficulties on this path, but Islamabad would do its utmost to help lift sanctions against Iran and implement the Iran nuclear deal by all its signatories.

This was Khan's second visit this year to Iran after he made his first-ever official visit to Tehran in April and held talks with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and senior Iranian officials, including President Rouhani.

Ahead of the Pakistani prime minister's planned visit, the spokesman of Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday Oct. 11 that the country is prepared to hold talks with Saudi Arabia, with or without mediation.

Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said "The Islamic Republic has announced that it is always ready, with or without a mediator, to hold talks with its neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, so that if there is any misunderstanding, it could be cleared."

Earlier on Sunday Oct. 13, Rouhani told Khan during their meeting that any tension or conflict in the region would only play into the hands of the Zionist regime.

The Iranian president stated "The settlement of regional crises, instead of inviting extra-regional powers and regimes that benefit from tension and war in the region, requires a shift in strategy toward political dialog mixed with goodwill, creation of security and the expansion of regional relations."

He added "We believe that relying on terrorists, Zionists and the US will have no outcome for Muslim countries and regional nations but tension and damage, and the only way to [establish] sustainable stability, security and development in the region is through intraregional dialog and cooperation."

Iran's president said security should be developed only by the regional countries, warning that foreign interference would make things worse.

Rouhani said "The first step to ease tension in the region is [the establishment of] ceasefire in Yemen and the end of attacks against the country's oppressed people; and Iran welcomes any move to that end."

Saudi Arabia, backed by the US, launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Ansarullah Movement.

Resistance by Yemen’s armed forces, led by Ansarullah, has pushed the Saudi war to a stalemate, with Yemeni forces conducting increasingly sophisticated retaliatory attacks against the Saudis.

Observers warn that a Saudi-US escalation could trigger a wider war that could spill over from Yemen into the region in case peace initiatives continue to be ignored by Saudi Arabia and its allies.

The Iranian president also said the Islamic Republic's definite policy is based on maintaining peace and stability in the Persian Gulf and providing shipping security in the Strait of Hormuz.

Rouhani stated "Lasting security and peace in the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz will only be established through cooperation among regional countries."

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