Tehran – Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Tuesday with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani for talks aimed at easing tensions between regional powers Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Sharif flew into the predominantly Shiite Islamic republic of Iran from Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia, where on Monday he expressed “deep concern” to King Salman over the diplomatic crisis.
“We wish to develop our relations and are opposed to any tension, as long as the rights of Muslims and the people of the region are respected and that the rules of diplomacy and politeness are respected,” Rouhani told him, according to Iran’s official IRNA news agency.
Sharif, according to a statement from the Iranian presidency, said that Pakistan “always strives to… diminish tensions between Muslim nations”.
He added that those behind “terrorism and extremism” take advantage of tensions between Muslim countries.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its Arab allies cut diplomatic ties with Iran in early January, sending already tense relations between the rival nations to a new low.
Riyadh reacted after protesters burned Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran after the kingdom on January 2 executed Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
He was among 47 people put to death in a single day for “terrorism”. Most of those executed were Sunnis.
The dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran has raised fears of greater regional instability and concerns for peace efforts in Syria and Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and Iran support opposing sides.