Thu, 20 Jun 2019

Amid escalating tensions with Washington, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned of anarchy in the Middle East if world powers do not unite to stop what he called U.S. aggression.

The official Iranian news agency IRNA said Zarif made the remark May 24 in Islamabad, where he held talks with top Pakistani officials.

Relations between Tehran and Washington have plummeted since U.S. President Donald Trump a year ago pulled the United States out of a 2015 nuclear accord between world powers and Iran that curbed the country's nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions.

Since then, Washington has stepped up its rhetoric and reimposed sanctions.

Earlier this month, the United States beefed up its military presence in the Middle East and Persian Gulf, citing 'imminent threats' from Iran, prompting growing concerns of a possible military conflict with Iran.

Tehran denied the allegations.

The Arab League is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting next week amid the escalating regional tensions.

Zarif later on May 23 in the Pakistani capital criticized the Trump administration for designating last month Iran's powerful paramilitary Revolutionary Guard force as a terrorist group.

Earlier, Zarif met with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

A brief statement from Khan's office said only that bilateral issues were discussed during the meeting on Friday.

Iran and Pakistan share a troubled 900-kilometer-long border and Tehran says that anti-Iranian Sunni Muslim militants have found safe havens in Pakistan's border province of Balochistan.

With reporting by AP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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