FM calls for Iran-Pakistan cooperation to fight terrorism in region

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined the need for cooperation between Tehran and Islamabad to fight terrorism and extremism in the region.

“The two countries (Iran and Pakistan) should strengthen their cooperation in fighting terrorism and extremism in the region,” Zarif told reporters in Islamabad on Wednesday.

He underlined that Iran and Pakistan are both facing the threat of extremism.

The Iranian foreign minister noted that Iran and Pakistan share a lot of cultural and historical interests, and said, “Iran deems (expansion of) relations with Pakistan of paramount importance.”

Zarif pointed to his agenda during his visit to Islamabad, and said, “We will discuss the bilateral relations which can result in the expansion of mutual cooperation.”

The Iranian foreign minister voiced regret over the death of eight Iranian border guards in Southeastern Iran near the border with Pakistan, and said, “Unfortunately both Iran and Pakistan are exposed to the threat of extremism and terrorism, and we, unfortunately, witnessed that terrorists martyred a number of Iranian border guards recently.”

Zarif reiterated that Iran is seeking establishment of peace and stability in the region, and said, “We believe that we should have consultations with Pakistan as an important regional country in this area.”

Zarif, heading a high-ranking delegation, arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday evening to hold bilateral and regional talks with senior Pakistani officials.

The Iranian foreign minister visited Oman on Wednesday morning before leaving the Persian Gulf state for Pakistan.

Zarif is slated to meet his Pakistani counterpart and Prime Minister Nawaz as well as other senior Pakistani officials in Islamabad.

On Tuesday, Iran’s foreign ministry summoned the Pakistani charge d’affaires in Tehran to protest at Islamabad’s lax control over common border with Iran which resulted in the death of eight Iranian border guards in a recent incident.

On Monday night, eight Iranian border guards were killed in a terrorist attack in the Southeastern province of Sistan and Balouchestan near the border with Pakistan.

“The Pakistani charge d’affaires was summoned to the Iranian foreign ministry on Tuesday to receive Iran’s protest letter,” Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Hossein Zolfaqari told FNA on Wednesday.

“We expect the Pakistani border, security and military officials to deal more seriously with this issue,” he added.

Earlier today, Commander of the Iranian Border Guards Brigadier General Qassem Rezayee urged Pakistan to stop terrorists’ cross-border attacks from its soil and adopt practical measures in tightening their lax security control over borders with Iran.

“The border guards of this (Eastern) region are in fact in charge of security of both Iran and Pakistan borders, but unfortunately we are facing the negligence of the Pakistani side,” General Rezayee said.

He reported over 70 cases of border clashes with the terrorists and drug traffickers last year, and said, “Whenever these clashes happen Pakistan is to blame for them.”

The bordering areas between Iran and Pakistan have witnessed some insecurities in recent year

Jeish al-Adl terrorist group claimed responsibility for the Monday night terrorist attack.

Jeish al-Adl claimed on its tweeter page on Tuesday that its members had attacked the cars carrying the Iranian border guards in the Southeastern town of Negur on Monday night and killed 8 of them when clashes broke out as they were trying to cross the Iranian border from neighboring Pakistan.

The terrorist group also claimed that none of its members have been wounded or killed during the clashes, while the Iranian officials had earlier announced the death of three terrorists during the attack.

In similar incidents in October, four Iranian police officers, including a conscript, were also killed in two terrorist attacks on a border post in Sistan and Balouchestan.

The tragic event took place in the vicinity of the city of Saravan near the border with Pakistan.

Also in October, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri urged Pakistan to stop terrorists’ cross-border attacks from its soil, warning that the Iranian military would take action to crush such terrorist groups if Islamabad continues its present heedless attitude.

“We hope to be able to prevent terrorist actions with the help of the regional governments, specially the Pakistani government and army,” General Jazayeri told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony held in Tehran to commemorate the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) martyred commanders.

“Naturally, Iran will not bear such conditions for a long time and if the Islamic Republic feels necessary, it will adopt deterrent measures in this regard,” he stressed with a warning tone.

 By Fars News Agency