Goodwill gesture elicits friendly response: Rouhani
Khan: Pakistan wants to 'facilitate' Iran-Saudi talks
Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Sunday that the secession of hostilities in Yemen could positively affect the region.
“Iran has long put forward a four-point plan to end the war in Yemen, and a proper termination of that war could have a positive impact on the region,” Ayatollah Khamenei told visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in Tehran.
The Leader expressed regret about “the destructive role of some countries” in supporting terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria and “making war and bloodshed” in Yemen.
"We have no motive for hostility toward these countries, but they are under the will of the United States and are acting in line with the will of the US against the Islamic Republic of Iran," he said,
The Leader said Iran had not initiated any war, but noted that if a country starts a war against the Islamic Republic, it will certainly regret it.
Ayatollah Khamenei also hailed Pakistan’s concern for peace and security in the “sensitive” West Asia region.
During the meeting, which was also attended by President Hassan Rouhani, Khan called Iran and Pakistan two brotherly neighbors.
"Tehran-Islamabad cooperation should be expanded… because we consider Iran an important partner, especially in the field of commerce.
Iran’s security concerns
Earlier in the day, Khan held talks with Rouhani. Speaking at a joint press conference after the meeting, Rouhani said he had expressed Tehran's concern about Persian Gulf security and especially a "missile attack" Friday on an Iranian vessel off the Saudi coast.
"We expressed our concerns to the prime minister about the incidents happening to oil tankers, especially the Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea on Friday," he said.
The Iranian-flagged Sabiti tanker was hit by two separate explosions off the Saudi port of Jeddah, making it the first Iranian vessel targeted since a spate of attacks in the Persian Gulf.
Rouhani said he had presented Khan with evidence from the incident and that investigations were ongoing.
"If a country thinks that it can cause insecurity in the region and not receive a proper response, it is mistaken," Rouhani said, without elaborating.
"Any effort based on goodwill is welcomed ... during the meeting, we agreed that the regional issues can be resolved through diplomacy and through dialogue between countries," Rouhani responded.
There has been a series of still-unexplained attacks on shipping in and around the vital seaway as well as drone attacks on Saudi oil installations.
Washington has accused Tehran of attacking the vessels with mines and of being behind the drone assault, something Iran strongly denies.
Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since the US withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May last year and re-imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Rouhani repeated Iran's official line that the United States must return to the deal and lift sanctions before any talks can take place.
"Any goodwill gesture and good words will be reciprocated with a goodwill gesture and good words," he said.
Khan met both Rouhani and US President Donald Trump at the United Nations General Assembly last month, shortly after he visited Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia.
'Facilitating' Iran-Saudi talks
The Pakistani PM said he visited Iran on a mission to act as a "facilitator" between Tehran and Riyadh and try to defuse rising tensions in the Persian Gulf.
"The reason for this trip is that we do not want a conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran," Khan told reporters as he stood alongside Rouhani.
"Whatever it takes we must never allow this conflict to take place, because we know, Mr. President, that there is a vested interest that wants this to take place," he told Rouhani.
Noting that it was a "complex" issue that can be resolved through talks, Khan warned that any conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia would "cause poverty in the world".
“I am very hopeful as I had constructive talks with the (Iranian) president.”
Pakistan has strong relations with Saudi Arabia, with more than 2.5 million of its nationals living and working in the kingdom, but it also maintains good relations with Iran and represents Tehran's consular interests in the United States.
This is Khan's second visit this year to Iran, which shares a border of about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) with Pakistan.
Kahn will travel to Riyadh on Tuesday.
Emphasizing that the visits to Tehran and Riyadh were Pakistan's "initiative", Khan said he was also approached by Trump to "facilitate some sort of dialogue between Iran and the United States".
The Pakistan premier said he was "very encouraged" by talking to Rouhani and will go to Saudi Arabia "in a very positive frame of mind", hoping the two countries can "iron out their differences."
AFP, Press TV and Reuters contributed to this story.