Prime Minister (PM) of Pakistan Imran Khan is in Tehran to diffuse the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The tensions between the two countries have touched new heights in recent times. And it seems that the “mysterious attacks” and “other sabotage acts” carried out in the red sea and the Persian Gulf will continue despite the two countries desire to hold talks. The attack on an Iranian oil tanker days ahead of PM Khan’s visit is a testimonial to the fear that wishing normalcy in the Gulf is yet a distant dream. Will Imran’s peace initiative prove instrumental in bringing the two rivals on a dialogue table?

While it’s too early to establish any opinion, however, the visit of the Pakistani premier to Tehran was needed anyways. Imran Khan’s visit, as it is clear, is not entirely focused on Iran-Saudi row. PM Khan is in Tehran to discuss bilateral issues with the leadership of Tehran as well. PM’s second visit to Iran this year will also help in diffusing the perception that Islamabad is in Riyadh’s camp. Furthermore, the region where Iran and Pakistan lie is also in flux. Now that the talks between the United States (US) and Taliban have failed and a new government in Kabul will form soon, Iran and Pakistan need to have a joint plan of action towards Afghanistan’s stability.

Nevertheless, both Saudi Arabia and Tehran are feeling frustrated. Both sides want to achieve normalcy but with a claim of winning. But such a narrative, if not avoided, will create future problems even if the tensions in the Gulf subside momentarily. Khan needs to convince both sides that instead of boasting winning the “proxy war”, giving up on such rhetoric is a prerequisite for the success of any peace initiative. Will Imran Khan succeed in this? The fact that both sides want to end the tensions in the Gulf makes Imran Khan’s task not a strenuous one.