'Pakistan right at this minute is a more acute problem than Iran,' says expert

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Washington, Apr.24 (ANI): A senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who served as an adviser in the Clinton and Bush State Departments, has warned that as of now the evolving situation in Pakistan is more acute than Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions.

According to David Pollock, the situation in both countries is serious and a matter of grave concern to the international community.

"Iran is also pretty serious and quite an urgent problem as well. I don't think we have the luxury of putting Iran on hold while we deal with Pakistan. ...We have to really be able to try to work on a number of different issues at the same time," Fox News quoted Pollock, as saying.

Iran has been high on the list of foreign priorities for the U.S. because of its nuclear program. Oil-rich Iran says it is building nuclear reactors to generate electricity, but Washington believes it is secretly aiming to build atomic weapons, in violation of Tehran's treaty commitments. .

Pakistan, which is supposed to be a key ally of the U.S. in the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, is already rich in nuclear weapons.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that the Pakistani government is "basically abdicating to the Taliban and the extremists."

The secretary of state's comments came after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari approved Islamic Shariah law in the northwestern Swat valley, which has been overtaken by Taliban forces.

President Obama has invited Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai to the White House early next month, and Clinton made clear that Washington expects Zardari in particular to take a much harder line against extremists.

Richard Perle, former chairman of President George W. Bush's Defense Policy Board and now a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said the Obama administration needs to be working around the clock on Pakistan "because that's a very serious situation."

Perle, however, doesn't believe the administration's efforts toward Iran are taking up much time.

"If Clinton and others were shuttling around the globe to put together a coalition with the Iranians, you could argue that it is a drain on resources," he said. "But I don't think there's a lot of heavy lifting," Perle said. (ANI)

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