EghtesadOnline: Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei underlined the need for efforts to resolve the Yemen crisis, stressing that a halt to the devastating war would significantly promote regional peace and security.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran proposed a … peace plan to end the Yemen war long ago and if this war is put to an end properly, it would have a positive impact on the whole region,” the Leader said during a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Iranian capital on Sunday, his website reported.
Khan's second visit to Tehran this year came after he said last month US President Donald Trump had asked him to help defuse tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
American and Saudi officials blamed Tehran for a Sept. 14 attack on the world's biggest crude oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia. Iran denies involvement, according to Financial Tribune.
During the meeting with the Leader, Khan described Iran and Pakistan as two “brotherly” countries.
He said relations between Tehran and Islamabad need to be expanded, stressing that “Iran is an important partner, particularly in the field of trade.”
In a press conference with President Hassan Rouhani earlier in the day, the Pakistani premier said he wants to help facilitate Tehran-Riyadh talks and prevent a new conflict in the region, particularly since Pakistan has suffered around 70,000 casualties in the last 15 years in the "war on terror".
"Iran is our neighbor and has helped us at crucial times. Saudi Arabia is also our friend and has helped us out. We do not want a conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and believe that issues should be resolved through dialogue," ISNA quoted Khan as saying.
Echoing a similar view, Rouhani said regional issues can only be resolved politically and through dialogue.
He said the key to improving the situation in the region and deescalating tensions is putting an end to the years-long war in Yemen, where a coalition led by Saudi Arabia is fighting the Houthi ruling group.
"It could be a very good beginning," he added.
The president noted that Iran will respond positively to any "goodwill gesture" and "decent statement".
He also noted that the lifting of US sanctions, which amount to "economic terrorism", could pave the way for the resolution of the standoff between Tehran and Washington.
Rouhani said clues had been uncovered as to who was behind Friday's attack on an Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea.
"However, the investigation will continue until we reach a final conclusion," he added.
The National Iranian Tanker Company, which owns the Sabiti, said its hull was hit by two separate explosions off the Saudi port of Jeddah. But the state-owned company denied reports the attack had originated from Saudi soil.
Adel al-Jubeir, the kingdom's minister of state for foreign affairs, said on Sunday Riyadh was not behind the incident, Reuters reported.
The president emphasized the importance of regional peace and stability, saying, "It would be a grave mistake for a country to assume that it can cause insecurity in the region without receiving a response."
The Iranian president hailed Tehran-Islamabad ties and welcomed the Pakistani prime minister's initiative to promote regional cooperation.
In a meeting with Khan before the news conference, Rouhani said the situation is ripe to increase annual trade between the two countries to $5 billion.
Khan has ramped up his government's engagement on the international stage, offering to negotiate regional tensions. He has separately proposed to Trump that Pakistan could help broker peace in neighboring Afghanistan, Reuters reported.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Saturday Iran is prepared to hold talks with Saudi Arabia, with or without the help of a mediator.