Pakistan will not become a party to US-Iran tension: FM Qureshi

Pakistan will not become a party to US-Iran tension: FM Qureshi

Islamabad (Staff Report/Agencies): Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan will not become a party to US-Iran tension.

“Our policy is not to add fuel to the fire, neither will we become a part of it,” Qureshi said while giving a policy statement in Senate on Monday. The minister said that Pakistan works on its own set of principles, adding that the region of Middle East cannot afford to have a new war.

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor has said that Pakistan will not take sides in the ongoing conflict between the United States and neighbouring Iran, but only play the role of a peacemaker.

"Pakistan has defeated terrorism on its territory and will not allow its soil to be used against any other country," said ISPR chief in an interview with a local TV channel on Sunday.

The remarks came two days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telephoned Gen Qamar to discuss the regional situation and possible implication of the killing of Major General Qassem Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport on Friday.

On Sunday, Iran said it would further roll back its commitments to a 2015 nuclear deal with six major powers, by enriching uranium without restrictions, but Tehran will continue to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog.

State television said Iran would not respect any limits set down in the pact on the country’s nuclear work: whether the limit on its number of uranium enrichment centrifuges to its enrichment capacity, the level to which uranium could be enriched, or Iran’s nuclear Research and Development activities.

“Iran will continue its nuclear enrichment with no limitations and based on its technical needs,” a statement cited by state television said.

Iran has steadily overstepped the deal’s limits on its nuclear activities in response to the United States’ withdrawal from the accord in 2018 and Washington’s reimposition of sanctions that have crippled Iran’s oil trade.

Tehran says it can quickly undo those breaches if those sanctions are removed. Iran had been expected to publicise its latest stance on the deal this weekend. But its announcement coincided with a major escalation of hostilities following the US killing of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike on Friday in Baghdad.

Under the nuclear deal, Tehran undertook to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for a lifting of many international sanctions.