Imran leaves for Iran today to ease Saudi-Iran tensions

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Prime Minister Imran Khan will leave for Iran today (Sunday) in a bid to ease seething tensions between Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said as part of his initiative to promote peace and security in the region, Prime Minister Imran Khan will be undertaking a visit to Iran on October 13.

The prime minister will have meetings with the Iranian leadership, including the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei and President Dr Hassan Rouhani.

Bilateral matters and important regional developments will be discussed during the visit.

This will be the prime minister’s second visit to Iran this year. He also had a meeting with the president of Iran on the sidelines of 74th United Nations General Assembly session in September in New York.

After the Iran visit, the prime minister will also pay a visit to Saudi Arabia as part of his efforts to bridge differences between Tehran and Riyadh.

In recent days, there have been positive signals from both capitals for ironing out differences. Islamabad enjoys close relations with the two Muslim nations.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has welcomed efforts for mediation with Saudi Arabia ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the country.

“We’ve always been open to discussing anything with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is our neighbor. We’re going to be here together permanently,” Zarif said in an interview with TRT World.

“We don’t have any choice but to talk to each other, and we have been open to talking to Saudi Arabia either directly or through intermediaries,” Zarif noted.

When asked about PM Imran’s upcoming visit to Tehran, Zarif said, “We’ve never rejected any intermediary… We’ve always been open to mediation, and we’ve always been open to direct talks with our Saudi neighbors.”