The foreign minister of Pakistan has said that Iran had no justification to pursue nuclear weapons and urged the neighbouring country to embrace overtures from the United States.
In some of Pakistan's strongest statements on Iran's controversial nuclear programme, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said yesterday that he wanted to avoid "another major crisis in the region."
"In my view, I don't think they have a justification to go nuclear," Qureshi said at Harvard University.
"Who's threatening Iran? I don't see any immediate threat to Iran," he said, while adding that Pakistan accepted Iran's "right to civilian use of technology."
Qureshi said he has shared his views with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and told him to seize on US President Barack Obama's stated willingness to engage in dialogue to mend decades of fraught US-Iranian ties.
"This administration has been extending the olive branch -- make use of it. Engage the world," Qureshi said.
Pakistan has a mostly friendly but complicated relationship with Iran's Shiite clerical regime. Baluchistan province stretching between the two nations is rife with insurgency and sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites.
Pakistan and Iran in June signed a deal that commits Tehran to selling natural gas from a pipeline. The United States has warned against the project as it steps up sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said at the time that Islamabad would implement UN resolutions on Iran but not unilateral US restrictions.