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Pakistan asks US, Iran to exercise 'restraint', resolve issues through talks

Updated May 16, 2019

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Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal addresses a new conference. — AFP/File
Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal addresses a new conference. — AFP/File

Pakistan on Thursday urged the United States and Iran to exhibit "restraint" and resolve the issues that have ratcheted up tensions between them through negotiations, Radio Pakistan reported.

Addressing a weekly news conference in Islamabad today, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal termed the recent developments in the Persian Gulf as "disturbing".

He said Washington's decision to deploy an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Gulf has "added to the tension[s] and the existing precarious security situation in the Middle East".

"Any miscalculated move can transmute into a large scale conflict," the FO spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Editorial: Can Pakistan help ward off a potentially catastrophic regional conflict amid US-Iran rift?

The remarks come a day after the US ordered all nonessential government staff to leave Iraq, and Germany and the Netherlands both suspended their military assistance programs in the country in the latest sign of tensions sweeping the Persian Gulf region over still-unspecified threats that the Trump administration says are linked to Iran.

Recent days have seen allegations of sabotage targeting oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a drone attack by Yemen's Iranian-allied Houthi rebels, and the dispatch of US warships and bombers to the region.

At the root of this appears to be President Donald Trump's decision a year ago to pull the US from Iran's nuclear deal with world powers, embarking on a maximalist sanctions campaign against Tehran. In response, Iran's supreme leader issued a veiled threat on Tuesday, saying it wouldn't be difficult for the Islamic Republic to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels.

UAE to release 572 Pakistani prisoners

Dr Faisal during the news briefing also announced that the UAE government has decided to release 572 Pakistani prisoners who were incarcerated in its jails.

He said that the Pakistani mission in the Emirates is in touch with local authorities in order to expedite the inmates' release and deportation.

Answering a question, the spokesperson said the nation would also hear a "good news" regarding the release of Pakistani prisoners from jails in Saudi Arabia very soon.

He revealed that the US had deported 50 Pakistanis through a chartered flight on Wednesday.