US, Iran and the Persian Gulf: Islamabad Weigh In, Urges Restraint

Oil prices rose on Thursday for a third day running as fears of supply disruption amid heightened tensions in the Middle East

PKONWEB Report – Pakistan on Thursday urged United States and Iran to show restraint as any “miscalculated move can transmute into a large-scale conflict”.

“The US decision to deploy aircraft carrier and bombers has added to the tensions and the existing precarious security situation in Middle East,” said Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr. Mohammad Faisel at a weekly breifing in Islamabad. “We expect all sides to show restraint as a miscalculated move can transmute into a large-scale conflict.”

His statement came against the backdrop of heightened fears of a clash between the US and Iran. The US has recently sent an aircraft carrier and a bomber task force to the Middle East in response to what officials called “a credible threat” by Iranian regime forces.

Saudi Arabia said that several of its oil tankers had been damaged in mysterious “sabotage attacks” after US warnings that Iran could target shipping in the region.

Observers believe that any serious conflict between Iran and the US would test the diplomatic skills of Pakistan, which has close ties with Iran’s arch rival Saudi Arabia but at the same time does not want to antagonize the neighboring country.

Sensing the gravity of the situation, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi recently admitted that Pakistan needed to evolve a clear strategy on the Iran-US tensions. He went on to say that Pakistan would not join any camp in case of a conflict broke out between the Tehran and Washington. Qureshi noted that Pakistan would evolve its strategy keeping in view its best national interests.

ON Thursday, a state-aligned Saudi newspaper called for “surgical” U.S. strikes in retaliation against alleged threats from Iran.

The Arab News in its editorial argued that after incidents this week against Saudi energy targets, the next logical step “should be surgical strikes.”

US Strategy for Iran was decodified by US Ambassador to KSA John Abizaid on Tuesday while talking to journalists.

The US envoy told reporters Washington should take what he called “reasonable responses short of war” after it had determined who was behind the attacks near Fujairah. “We need to do a thorough investigation to understand what happened, why it happened, and then come up with reasonable responses short of war,” the newly arrived American ambassador said to media in the Saudi capital.

“It’s not in (Iran’s) interest, it’s not in our interest, it’s not in Saudi Arabia’s interest to have a conflict,” he said.

“Responses short of war are known as Coercion, Military, Diplomatic and Economic.”

A senior Pakistani defense analyst said the Saudis are facing a lot of embarrassment at the hands of Iranian proxies in Syria and Yemen.

“At present a limited conflict in the Middle East is in favor of Saudis, as it will release Iranian pressure and it will result in increase in oil prices which will be a good injection to Saudi ailing Economy,” he added.

Another senior Pakistan defense analyst said, possibly a strike on Iran will push the oil prices higher. “Suits US shale oil producers. “Any thing is possible in USA especially in Trump’s US.”

Oil prices rose on Thursday for a third day running as fears of supply disruption amid heightened tensions in the Middle East overshadowed swelling U.S. crude inventories.

Brent crude futures were up $1.03 at $72.80 a barrel by 1344 GMT, heading for the biggest weekly rise in about three months.