Pakistan diffusing Iran-US tensions

Amidst heightened US-Iran tensions that have threatened to stablise the region, Pakistan is spearheading diplomatic efforts to defuse the situation. Our Foreign Minister has embarked on a visit to Iran and Saudi Arabia with a mission to reduce tempers and simmer the prospects of war
Prime Minister Imran Khan instructed Qureshi to visit both countries to hold talks with their respective foreign ministers. FM Qureshi is also expected to visit the US for a discussion with Secretary of State Pompeo but the trip has not been confirmed yet. Army Chief General Bajwa had also reached out to military leaders in light of the situation.
US and Iran came on the brink of war after Iran launched ballistic missiles at two US bases in Iraq as retaliation for the killing of their commander Qasem Soleimani. The killing raised fears of a wider war in the Middle East but both sides seemed to have retracted from an all-out conflict and the situation quickly de-escalated.
Many regional countries have made efforts to reduce tensions. The Emir of Qatar was seen in Tehran stressing the need for de-escalation and dialogue to resolve the regional crises. Qatar is close to the US as it hosts the largest American military base in the region and also has strong ties with Iran.
Fearing that conflict in Iran would affect the region, Pakistan is also making an effort to mediate. Imran Khan has said that Pakistan will not be part of any war and will rather make efforts for peace. The prime minister said that he previously offered to mediate between Tehran and Riyadh as well.
The political atmosphere remains stiff after Iran accepted that it unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet on the same day it fired missiles at US bases in Iraq. The admission of guilt can have serious consequences as Ukraine wants punishment and Canada- who had several citizens on board- wants a complete investigation.
Qureshi believes that Iran’s admission of its mistake will ease tensions as the region cannot endure war. It is likely that Iran shall be pushed into further isolation and economic sanctions will be tightened. Iran would continue to remain at best an international pariah and at worst a rogue state.
Pakistan’s efforts to reduce tensions should be appreciated although whether it will have an impact needs to be seen. It is certain that the region cannot afford any war and the only option is to resolve all issues through peaceful and diplomatic means.
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