Iran Lodges Protest with Pakistan over Sistan-Baluchistan Attack, Issues Joint Statement with India on Pulwama Attack
India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi | (Photo: Twitter)

Toronto, February 18: Iran has summoned Pakistan’s ambassador to Tehran and lodged a strong protest over the recent terrorist attack in Sistan-Baluchistan province that killed 27 soldiers from its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said on Sunday that Iran "explicitly conveyed" to Pakistani Ambassador Rafat Masoud that Tehran expects Islamabad and its military "to make a serious and decisive action" against the Jaish al-Adl and its base inside its territory, Mehr news agency reported.

Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for the February 13 attack on Iran’s elite soldiers in the country’s remote Sistan-Baluchistan province. It is a jihadist group formed in 2012 as a successor to the Sunni extremist group Jundallah (Soldiers of God), which waged an insurgency against Iran over the past decade.

Ghasemi also said that it was conveyed to Pakistan that the Irnaian government expects Islamabad to take "immediate and necessary measures" to identify and arrest the attackers, who carried out last week’s deadly attack. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani also repeated his earlier threat to avenge the attack, saying he "regrets" the "wrong policies" of Iran's neighbours.

Iran’s strongly worded message to Pakistan comes a day after India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi during a stopover visit in Tehran. The two countries then jointly released a statement regarding the two deadly terror attacks suffered by both the countries over the past week. The terror attack in India’s Pulwama district was carried out by Jaish-e-Muhammad which is based in Pakistan and so is Jaish al-Adl.

The press statement issued by Iran's foreign ministry read, "They condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan and India's Srinagar, and offered sympathy to each other". The release also said, "The two sides underlined the necessity of establishing peace and calm in the region through dialogue".

After the meet, Araqchi tweeted out saying, "we agreed on close cooperation to combat terrorism in the region. Enough is enough!"

India’s outreach to Iran comes as New Delhi is working on the international stage to highlight Pakistan’s role as a breeding ground for terror groups. Iran’s government seemed receptive to India’s message and Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani said in a strongly-worded statement that the Pakistani government should be held to account for the incident. "The Pakistani government should be accountable for this act involving the group orchestrating and conducting the operation from their territory," Larijani said during Sunday's session of parliament.

Larijani said Pakistan "cannot act irresponsibly", adding that "such behaviour will severely damage the level of cooperation" between the neighbouring countries.