Dialogue may deliver regional peace: Iranian diplomat

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ISLAMABAD: A senior Iranian diplomat on Monday suggested an “inclusive and comprehensive intra-regional dialogue” as the way out of the current crisis in the Middle East and said that Tehran would encourage Pakistan to continue its efforts for defusing tensions.

“All of us should instead opt for and subscribe to a paradigm of regional inclusivity and synergy, as the only realistic way out of the current cycle of crises,” Masoud Zamani, counselor at the Embassy of Iran said at a roundtable conference organized by Islamabad Policy Institute (IPI).

 

The conference titled ‘Implication of the Military Flare-up in the Persian Gulf’ was attended by diplomats, academics, and representatives of think tanks. The speakers discussed the situation in the aftermath of Iranian Commander Gen Qassem Soleimani’s assassination and its impact on Pakistan.

 

Zamani said, contrary to general perception, the solution to the latest crisis was “within reach and accessible.” He, however, said that this would require honest commitment to peace and partnership from all the countries in the region.  Noting that security cannot be achieved through “hurling stones at the neighbor’s house,” he regretted that some countries in the neighbourhood believed in acquisition of foreign arms and “purchasing security and legitimacy” from others.

 

“Resort to war, considered an exception in international relations, has unfortunately become a norm and rule in the region due to the attitude and conduct of the U.S. and its followers. This is a vicious circle that must be broken by the regional actors and all those committed to peace, quiet, and stability,” he maintained.

 

Speaking about Pakistan’s efforts for reduction of tensions, Mr Zamani said those were welcome and Iran encourages Pakistan to continue them. Director at Quaid-e-Azam University’s School of Politics and International Relations Dr Nazir Ahmed said Pakistan’s major concern is the fallout of the crisis on Afghan peace process and Kashmir. “Our priority should be to avoid a regional conflict,” he said.

 

Executive Director Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS) Amb Ali Sarwar Naqvi said that there was a “sad progression of events” and things were taking a “drastic and grim turn”. He warned that a conflict in the region would suit Israel. Amb Riaz Bokhari said that the situation was still fluid, but the “tactical pause” in hostilities offered an opportunity for de-escalation. He believed that through mediation, “Pakistan would be able to ensure peace on our western border, success of peace talks in Afghanistan, maintain sectarian harmony and keep Kashmir on the international agenda”. Progress towards de-escalation, he said, could be achieved if Iran and Arab countries assure each other of mutual security and respect for their red lines.

 

Amb Bokhari too emphasized that Arabs and Iranians need to resolve their problems by themselves. He warned that India may try to exploit the situation and destabilize the region further. Executive Director IPI Prof Sajjad Bokhari, on this occasion, said that although it apparently looks that the situation has eased a bit, but there was still a very real possibility of eruption of a low-intensity US – Iran conflict in the region.

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