Former Director of the Middle East Department in Iran Foreign Ministry dismissed that Saudi Arabia wants Pakistan to mediate between Tehran and Riyadh.
In an interview with ILNA news agency, Qasem Mohebali said “Islamabad is certainly keen to play a role but whether they have a mission or a request from Saudi Arabia is another matter.”
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan today leaves Islamabad for Tehran on an official visit, where he is scheduled to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday. The prime minister will later in the day travel to Riyadh for meetings with the Saudi leadership.
Mohebali added that his trip is part of Islamabad’s efforts to defuse increasing tensions in the Middle East because Islamabad always wants to be active when there is a rift in the region and to be able to do its own operation.
The expert stated “Pakistan currently involved in Kashmir crisis so mediation between Tehran and Riyadh could improve Islamabad's position.”
“So I believe that this mediation is Imran Khan's own initiative,” he said. Adding that there is no signal that Riyadh wants to reduce tensions and accept Iranian conditions on regional issues.”
The Pakistani prime minister made his first-ever official visit to Iran in April and held talks with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and senior Iranian officials, including President Rouhani.
An Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea was hit by two suspected rockets on Friday off the coast of Saudi Arabia, raising fears of further escalation in the already-volatile Persian Gulf region.
There was no immediate acknowledgement from Saudi Arabia about the blasts. Russia's foreign ministry said it was too early to assign blame for the explosions.