US, Iran must show ‘restraint’, resolve issue through dialogue: FO

Pakistan on Thursday advocated the United States and Iran to exhibit “restraint” and resolve the issues that have escalated tensions between two nations through negotiations, Radio Pakistan reported.

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Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, in a weekly news conference in the federal capital today, dubbed the recent happenings in the Persian Gulf “disturbing.”

On the recent deployment of aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Gulf by Washington, Dr Faisal said the act, “added to the tension[s] and the existing precarious security situation in the Middle East.”

He added, “any miscalculated move can transmute into a large scale conflict.”

The remarks comes a week after the Trump administration deployed a carrier strike group and bombers to the Middle East in response to troubling “indications and warnings” from Iran and to show the United States will retaliate with “unrelenting force” to any attack, national security adviser John Bolton said.

Bolton – who has spearheaded an increasingly hawkish US policy on Iran – said the decision, which could exacerbate problems between the two countries, was meant to send a “clear and unmistakable message” of US resolve to Tehran.

Though he cited no specific Iranian activities that have raised new concerns, Iran has recently warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz if it was barred from using the strategic waterway. About a fifth of the oil consumed globally passes through the strait.

“The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or regular Iranian forces,” Bolton said in a statement.

It marked the latest in a series of moves by President Donald Trump’s administration aimed at ratcheting up pressure on Iran in recent months.

Washington has said it will stop waivers for countries buying Iranian oil, in an attempt to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero. It has also blacklisted Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, taking the unprecedented step of designating it as a foreign terrorist organization, which Iran has cast as an American provocation.

The Trump administration’s efforts to impose political and economic isolation on Tehran began last year when it unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal it and other world powers negotiated with Iran in 2015.

“The United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the US Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force,” Bolton said.

UAE to release 572 Pakistani prisoners

During the news briefing, Dr Faisal announced the UAE government has decided to release 572 Pakistani prisoners who were confined in its jails.

He said the Pakistani mission in the Emirates is in contact with local authorities in order to accelerate the inmates’ release and deportation.

Responding to a question, Dr Faisal said the nation will soon hear “good news” regarding the release of Pakistani prisoners incarcerated in Saudi jails.

He disclosed that the US has deported 50 Pakistanis through a chartered flight today.

With input from AFP and REUTERS.

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