Iran has summoned Pakistan’s ambassador in Tehran to protest against killing border guards by militants attacking from neighboring Pakistan.
On Wednesday, 10 Iranian border guards were killed and two others injured in an ambush attack near the town of Mirjaveh in the southeastern Iranian province of Sistan-and-Baluchestan.
The Jaish ul-Adl militant group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement. The assailants escaped into Pakistani territory immediately after the attack.
“Iran expects Pakistan to take serious and essential measures to arrest and punish those terrorists responsible for the killing of our nine guards,” IRNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying.
“The message was delivered to Ambassador Asif Ali Khan Durrani on Friday,” he said.
Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province, whose majority population is Sunni Muslim Baluch people like those across the border in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, lies on a major transit route for drug smugglers. It has long been plagued by unrest both from them and from separatist militants.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also called on Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to prosecute the militants who had killed the Iranian border guards.
“Regrettably, a lack of appropriate measures and necessary prosecution on the part of the Pakistani government have caused great loss of lives and property for Iran,” Rouhani said in a statement, quoted by the semi-official Mehr news agency.
General Mohammad Pakpour, the commander of the Ground Forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), said his forces will respond strongly to these attacks, accusing the US and gulf countries of seeking to harm “Iran’s stability.”
“Today, bandits have retreated into their den in… Pakistan and target our forces from there — like what happened to the border guards — and they (the bandits) are no more capable of [establishing] presence deep in our territory,” Gen. Pakpour said.
He pointed to the “insecurity that exists in Iran’s neighborhood” and said, “Our country is a safe island in this sea.”
“Today, Saudi Arabia, the [United Arab] Emirates and the godfather of them all, America, back counterrevolutionary groups to create instability for us,” he added.