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Pakistan: Dialogue Needed to Resolve Iran Nuclear Controversy


Pakistan is urging Iran, the United States and European nations to peacefully resolve differences over Tehran's nuclear program. Pakistan is praising Europe's diplomatic approach to try to resolve the nuclear standoff with Iran.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri says his government is also in touch with Tehran over the issue, noting Islamabad has particular concerns about instability with Iran on its border.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Masood Khan says Pakistan simply wants to ease tensions. "We want to defuse the situation. We want to create an atmosphere where the dominant norm is talks, dialogue, and Pakistan is making efforts in that direction."

Speaking to journalists Monday in Islamabad, Mr. Khan denied reports that Pakistan is actually putting pressure on the Iranians to make concessions.

Mr. Khan says that Pakistan enjoys close relations with both Iran and the United States.

The United States takes a much tougher policy line on Iran than Europe. The Bush administration wants Iran reported to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions, and has not ruled out the use of force against Iran.

President Bush had called Iran part of an "Axis of Evil" nations pursuing weapons of mass destruction. The other two were North Korea and Iraq, before the U.S.-led invasion there ousted Saddam Hussein.

Iran denies its nuclear energy facilities will be used to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Pakistan too has been in the spotlight, after the founder of its own nuclear program publicly admitted last year to having illegally transferred weapons technology and material to several countries, including Iran.

The scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, is currently under house arrest, while some of his colleagues are still being detained for questioning.

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