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Iran tensions

US-Iran tensions challenge Pakistan's balancing act

Islamabad aims to avoid angering Shiites as it protects Belt and Road projects

U.S. President Donald Trump, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Pakistan is trying to distance itself from U.S.-Iran tensions, not only to avoid getting caught up in violence but also to keep the Belt and Road infrastructure projects on track. (Photos by Reuters, AP)

KARACHI -- In the wake of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran since American forces killed Iran's top commander General Qasem Soleimani on Jan. 3, Pakistan, Iran's neighbor, has been trying to stay neutral for the sake of its domestic stability, due to its large minority of Shiite Muslims.

Soleimani, a prominent commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was killed in a U.S. drone strike near Baghdad Airport in Iraq. Soleimani was considered to be the architect of Iran's proxy wars across the Middle East -- Syria and Iraq being notable neighbors. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed to take revenge for the killing of the general. On Jan. 8, Iran launched a series of missile attacks on two U.S. military bases in Iraq, which were reportedly used in the attack on Soleimani.

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