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Pakistan Warns Iran Envoy Over ‘Threats’

Iranian troops in exercises near Pakistani border in Sistan-Baluchistan province
Iranian troops in exercises near Pakistani border in Sistan-Baluchistan province

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador on May 9 in Islamabad to formally protest a recent ultimatum issued by the head of Iran’s armed forces against Pakistan.

The day before, Iranian military head Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri issued a stern warning for neighboring Pakistan.

“Iran will attack areas sheltering terrorists in Pakistan unless Islamabad tightens control over its borders and stops ‘cross-border attacks’,” he said.

Bagheri made the statement nearly two weeks after at least nine Iranian border guards were killed near Mirjaveh, a town close to the Iran-Pakistan border.

Jaish ul-Adl (Army of Justice), a Sunni armed group engaged in armed attacks against the Iranian government in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan Province, claimed responsibility for the attack. Jaish ul-Adl said its snipers shot the Iranian border guards from inside Pakistan.

“We expect Pakistani officials to control the borders, arrest the terrorists, and dismantle their bases," Bagheri said.

The Iranian Army’s ground forces commander, Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, echoed the warning.

“If Pakistan does not take serious measures, Iranian forces reserve the absolute and legitimate right to decisively retaliate and destroy the lairs of terrorists no matter how deep inside the neighboring soil,” he said.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the comments went “against the spirit of brotherhood.”

“The Iranian side was urged to avoid issuance of statements that could vitiate the environment of fraternal relations,” the ministry said in response to the Iranian ambassador’s summons.

In 2014, Iran warned that it would dispatch troops to Pakistan to retrieve five Iranian border guards kidnapped by Jaish ul-Adl.

“Pakistan said at the time that such action would be a violation of international law and warned Iranian forces not to cross the border,” reported Pakistan daily Dawn.

However, Mawlana Abdol-Hamid, a prominent Sunni cleric and Friday Prayers leader in the city of Zahedan in Sistan-Baluchistan, stepped in to help resolve that dispute.

Four of the guards were released a few months later, but one was killed by the rebels.