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Pakistan Blames US for Heightening Tensions with Iran

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan on Thursday blamed the United States for heightening tensions with Iran in the ongoing crisis in the Persian Gulf and called on both sides to show restraint, Dawn news reported Friday.
“We expect all sides to show restraint. … Pakistan desires that all issues should be settled through peaceful dialogue and engagement by all sides,” Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said at the weekly media briefing.
“War is not an option,” he emphasized.
The spokesman was responding to questions about the deepening US-Iran crisis that has led to a massive military buildup by the US in the region in response to an unspecified threat. Under its offensive posture in the Persian Gulf, the US has deployed an aircraft carrier, positioned B-52 bombers at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, and sent F-15 jets to the region.
The progression of the crisis has been likened by many to the developments ahead of the Iraq war, which was started on the false pretext of weapons of mass destruction.
“Recent developments in the Persian Gulf region are disturbing. The US decision to deploy an aircraft carrier and bombers has added to the tensions and the existing precarious security situation in the Middle East,” Dr Faisal said.
Pakistan’s position looked much similar to the Chinese stance on the crisis. The Chinese foreign ministry had earlier said: “The Hormuz Strait is an important passageway for maritime shipping. We hope all parties can resolve differences through dialogue and jointly uphold peace and stability in the Hormuz Strait. We call on all parties, especially non-regional major country, to make responsible and constructive efforts.”
The Pakistan’s Foreign office spokesman, meanwhile, warned that any “miscalculated move can transmute into a large-scale conflict.”
There have been apprehensions that attacks on the vessels belonging to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Norway near Fujairah, off the coast of UAE, and drone strikes on a couple of oil pumping stations of Saudi state-owned Aramco that forced the Kingdom to suspend oil supply to Red Sea port could push the already volatile situation closer to war.
The drone attack was claimed by Yemen’s Houthis, whereas the attacks on vessels are still being investigated. The US and its Arab allies are treating Iran as the prime suspect in the sabotage of the ships.
The US has said that Iran would be held accountable for attacks by proxy forces. The US and its Arab allies consider Houthis as Iranian proxies.
Pakistan had a day earlier condemned the attack on Aramco facilities and expressed support for Saudi Arabia and the international community.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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