Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan delivers policy statement on Pulwama attack in Islamabad, Pakistan, February 19, 2019. (Photo: VCG )
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan warned against the risk of conflict in the region, following a visit to Islamabad by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif as tensions between Washington and Tehran escalated.
Strains have increased between Iran and the United States, in the wake of this month's attack on oil tankers in the Gulf region that Washington has blamed on Iran.
Tehran has denied its involvement in the attack, but the United States has sent an aircraft carrier and an extra 1,500 troops to the Gulf, sparking concerns about the risks of conflict in a volatile region.
Khan, who has been seeking to improve Pakistan's strained relations with neighbor Iran, said he was concerned about the "rising tensions in the Gulf," without specifically naming the United States or Saudi Arabia.
"He underscored that war was not a solution to any problem," Khan's office said in a statement late on Friday, citing the premier.
"Further escalation in tensions in the already volatile region was not in anyone's interest. All sides needed to exercise maximum restraint in the current situation."
Washington has been seeking to increasingly tighten sanctions against Iran, as relations continue to worsen under President Donald Trump.
At the end of the two-day visit to Pakistan, Zarif told Iranian state-run newswire IRNA that US allegations against Tehran were increasing tensions.
"The Americans have made such allegations to justify their hostile policies and to raise tensions in the Persian Gulf," Zarif told IRNA.
"Increased US presence in our region is extremely dangerous and it threatens international peace and security, and this should be addressed," he said.
Earlier this month, four tankers, including two belonging to Saudi Arabia, were bombed near the United Arab Emirates' Fujairah emirate, one of the world's largest bunkering hubs, located just outside the Strait of Hormuz.
Washington has accused Iran's Revolutionary Guards of carrying out the attacks, and the Trump administration has declared a national security-related emergency that would clear the sale of billions of dollars' worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries, bypassing congressional approval.
The Iranian side has not given in to pressures from the increasing US military presence in the Gulf region and hit back with strong rhetorics.