ISLAMABAD - Pakistan is aiming to bring Iran on the talks table with the United States and Saudi Arabia, officials said yesterday.

Senior government officials told The Nation that as part of Islamabad’s efforts for regional peace, Tehran was being convinced to hold dialogue with Washington and Riyadh.

“Pakistan is also facilitating the US-Afghan Taliban talks. We are demonstrating practically our commitment to regional peace. We have been telling Iran that we are facilitators and are not a party in the Iran-Saudi Arabia conflict. The good news is that Iran is not against talks,” one official said.

Another official said that Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa’s visit to Iran had been ‘very successful’ and Pak-Iran trust level was improving.

This week, General Bajwa called on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran. The military said that during the meeting matters related to mutual interest and regional security environment were discussed.

“Iranian President appreciated the role of Pakistan towards regional peace and successes of Pakistan Army against terrorism,” the military statement said.

Earlier, the army chief met Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Admiral Ali Shamkhani and Army Chief Major General Abdul Rahim Mousavi.

During the meetings, regional security environment and bilateral defence cooperation were discussed, the military said.

Pakistan also tried to convince Saudi Arabia for talks with Iran when Prime Minister Imran Khan visits the Kingdom after a day-long visit to Tehran last month. PM Khan, who earlier visited China had flown fly to Riyadh as a ‘mediator,’ officials said.

In September, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that both the United States and Saudi Arabia had asked him to mediate with Iran to defuse tensions.

PM Khan had met both US President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations, before which he had visited Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia.

“Trump asked me that if we could de-escalate the situation and maybe come up with another deal. Yes, we did convey this, and yes, we’re trying our best,” PM Khan said.

He added: “I immediately spoke to President Rouhani after the meeting with President Trump. I can’t say anything right now more than this except that we’re trying and mediating.”

In Saudi Arabia, which was hit recently by attacks on its oil infrastructure blamed on Iran, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman “also asked me to talk to the Iranian president,” the premier said.

When asked about Khan’s remarks, Trump said PM Khan would like to mediate “and we have a very good relationship and there’s a chance that that could happen.” “A lot of people would like to get us to the table. We’ll see what happens but so far we have not agreed to a meeting,” Trump said on a possible meeting with Rouhani while they were both in New York.

In return, Imran Khan is seeking President Trump’s help on Kashmir to resolve the decades-old issue with India. The US blames Iran for an attack on the world’s biggest crude oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia on September 14 and had said they will present evidence to back that up. Yemen’s Houthi group, which has been fighting a Saudi-led coalition since 2015, has claimed responsibility. Iran denies involvement.