“We have always offered Pakistan help in the region, but I have this question from the Pakistani government: where are you heading to? You have caused unrest along borders with all your neighbors and do you have any other neighbor left that you want to stir insecurity for,” General Soleimani said on Thursday, addressing a ceremony in the Northern Iranian city of Babol in Mazandaran province.
His remarks came a week after an explosives-laden truck rammed into a bus carrying the personnel of the Islamic Revolution Guardian Corps (IRGC), killing 27 and injuring 13.
Addressing the Pakistani government, General Soleimani asked, “Are you, who have atomic bombs, unable to destroy a terrorist group with several hundred members in the region? How many of your own people have been killed in different terrorist operations? We do not want your condolences, how could your condolence help the people of Iran?”
General Soleimani went on to say, “I tell the Pakistani people that the Saudi cash has influenced Pakistan and they want to destroy Pakistan with such measures.”
He warned that the Pakistani Army should not let several billion dollars of “a Saudi criminal” burn alive Muslims on a bus and finance other terrorist operations in the region, and said, “I ask the Pakistani government what has been left for Pakistan?”
“I warn you not to test Iran and anyone who has tested Iran has received firm response. We are speaking to Pakistan with a friendly tone and we are telling that country not to allow their borders to become a source of insecurity for the neighboring countries; anyone who has made this plot for Pakistan is seeking to disintegrate that country, the Islamic Republic of Iran will take revenge of its martyrs from those mercenaries who have committed this crime no matter where they are in the world,” General Soleimani added. “We will punish this wicked group in any part of the world and we will not allow the blood of our youth to be shed in the country and cleaned (and forgotten) easily.”
General Soleimani said Iran enjoys independent power and honor. “Some countries have wealth, but no prowess, (US President Donald) Trump tells the Al-Saud that if it hadn’t been for the US support, Saudi Arabia would not have survived and Saudi Arabia’s monetary coalitions in the region have all ended in failure.”
The IRGC bus was carrying personnel on a road from the city of Khash to Zahedan, the capital of Iran’s Southeastern province of Sistan and Balouchestan on Wednesday evening, when a truck loaded with explosives and moving alongside the bus detonated.
A statement released by the Quds Base of the IRGC’s Ground Force the same night said the bus was carrying a group of IRGC personnel “coming back from a border guarding mission when it came under a suicide car attack by Takfiri terrorists”, but did not mention the number of passengers.
“27 IRGC members have been martyred and 13 others wounded in the terrorist attack so far,” the statement said, and further blamed “the intelligence services of hegemonic system – a phrase used normally to refer to the United States and its allies – and Zionism for supporting the attack”.
Meantime, Jeish Al-Adl, a Pakistan-based radical Wahhabi terrorist group staging cross border attacks into Southeastern Iran from South-West Pakistan, has claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.
The group has bases in Southwestern Pakistan and started operations nearly 6 years ago after recruiting the remnants of Jundullah notorious terrorist group and reorganizing them. Iran had captured leaders of Jundullah notorious Wahhabi terrorist group and dismantled the terrorist organization years earlier.
The terror attack has stirred fury among Iranian officials, specially the military brass. On Tuesday, Military Aide to the Iranian Supreme Leader Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi lashed out at Pakistani Intelligence service’s backing for terrorists, advising Islamabad and its intelligence apparatuses that Saudi Arabia is not a reliable partner.
Speaking in Iranian central city of Isfahan, General Safavi said that the Pakistani government and its intelligence service have to respond to the Iranian nation and government, holding Islamabad responsible for the recent terrorist attack in Sistan and Baluchistan.
Referring to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent visit to Pakistan, General Safavi said Pakistan is a neighbor of Iran, and it should know that Saudi government is not reliable because it will not last for long.
The senior official added, 16 research organizations in Europe have announced in a document named ‘World in 2030’ that Saudis will not be existing in 2030 while Iran will be the strongest country of the region.
His comments came as Saudis are using aid packages and investment promises to buy the economically embattled Pakistani government’s loyalty and convince it to turn a blind eye to their destructive actions within Pakistan’s borders, including the Saudi-funded seminaries that have become breeding ground for extremism and terrorism.
In earlier remarks, Safavi had also slammed Saudi Arabia for supporting the terrorist groups acting against Iran, and said Pakistan and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) should account for the recent suicide attack on IRGC.
“These criminal outlaws were from one of the tribes of Balouchestan who had been trained on suicide operations in the neighboring country, and the neighboring country and the ISI should account to the Iranian government and nation and the IRGC for (the question) how they have crossed the borders of that country and why this neighboring country has turned into a safe haven and a place for the training and dispatch of these infidel terrorist grouplets (to Iran),” he said on Saturday.
He referred to insecurities at common borders of Iran and Pakistan in the past, and said, “The Pakistani government should account for this issue.”
General Safavi further pointed to the main backers and sponsors of the terrorist groups operating against Iran from Southwestern Pakistan, and said, “Proof and evidence shows that these terrorist groups are financially sponsored by a number of Persian Gulf Arab states, including one whose crown prince is in Pakistan at present, alluding to Saudi Arabia.”
He added that the same states sponsoring the Wednesday attack also planned to launch several similar terror attacks on Iran during the ceremonies commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in mid February, which were all defused thanks to the vigilance of the IRGC and other security and intelligence bodies.
Meantime, General Safavi reiterated that Iran wants to have good relations with its neighbors as it believes that insecurity in the region only serves the interests of the United States and Zionists who had gathered in Warsaw conference earlier this week, but vowed that Iran and the IRGC will give a “crushing and proper response in due time to the provocateurs and puppet perpetrators of the terrorist attack against the IRGC”.
Earlier on Saturday, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari warned Riyadh and Abu Dhabi of Iran’s revenge for the Wednesday terrorist attack, and blasted Pakistan for supporting the terrorist groups which act against Tehran.
“The traitor governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE should know that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s patience has run out and the Islamic Republic will not tolerate your secret supports for the Takfiri grouplets. We will take revenge for our martyrs from the UAE and Saudi governments and want the president to give us more free hands than the past for retaliatory operations,” General Jafari said in the Central city of Isfahan, addressing the burial ceremony of the IRGC personnel killed in the Wednesday terrorist attack.
He said that the Saudi and UAE intelligence agencies are clearly hatching different plots to foment insecurity in Southeastern Iran in addition to the US and Israeli plots to create insecurity and conduct assassination operations, noting that Iran has reliable intel in this regard.
General Jafari also asked the Pakistani army and intelligence body why their country is sheltering Takfiri groups, including Jeish al-Adl which has claimed responsibility for the Wednesday terrorist attack, and noted, “We believe this silence is kind of support for this grouplet and the Pakistani intelligence organization should account for it.”
“Pakistan should also know that it should pay the cost for the Pakistani intelligence organization’s support for Jeish al-Zolm (as Jeish al-Adl is called in Iran) from now on and this price will not doubt be very heavy for them,” he added.
“Undoubtedly, the Pakistani security organization knows the hideout of the grouplets but it has kept mum,” General Jafari said.
Earlier, General Jafari had also underlined harsh revenge from the culprits and masterminds of the Wednesday terrorist attack against the IRGC personnel, warning that Iran would act against the terrorists itself if Pakistan does not tighten security at the borders.
“The recent crime has caused the IRGC and other Armed Forces to boost determination to continue the path of martyrs and confront threats and they will protect security of the country’s borders with more strength and power and will take revenge of the blood of our oppressed martyrs,” General Jafari said, addressing a ceremony in Isfahan on Saturday.
He said that Pakistan which is aware of the hideouts of the terrorists who conducted the Wednesday suicide attack against the IRGC should account for their crimes too and act upon its responsibilities to establish security at common borders and should not allow the terrorists to use its bordering areas to carry out acts against the Iranian nation’s security.
“If Pakistan does not comply with its responsibilities, the Islamic Republic of Iran reserves the right of confrontation against these peripheral threats at the borders with the neighboring country, based on international law and rules, and will adopt compensatory measures to punish the terrorists who are mercenaries of the regional and trans-regional states’ spy agencies,” General Jafari warned.
The US officials have repeatedly stressed that they would take every possible measure to pressure Tehran, including support for groups operating against Iran. The incident came hours before the start of a US-sponsored security conference against Iran in Warsaw, Poland.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News last month that Washington would jointly host a global summit focused on Iran and the Middle East in Poland in February, but senior US diplomats later softened tone to shift the conference title to security in the Middle-East, denying that Iran will top or be the main agenda. The gathering took place in Warsaw from February 13 to 14, the US State Department said in a statement.
In mid October, Jeish al-Adl group abducted 14 Iranian Basijis (volunteer forces) and border guards at Mirjaveh border in Southeastern Sistan-Balouchestan province. Five were released a month later on November 15.
The IRGC Ground Force then blamed foreign intelligence services for supporting and assisting the terrorist group.
Jeish al-Adl also abducted five Iranian border guards in Jakigour region of Sistan and Balouchestan Province and took them to Pakistan in 2014. After two months of abduction, four of them were released and the fifth one was killed. His body was returned to Iran months later.
Then early in March, 2015, Pakistani sources told the country’s media that authorities in Southwestern Pakistan had arrested the ringleader of Jeish al-Adl terrorist group as he was traveling on a bus from the lawless border area.
Salam Rigi, cousin of the Jundollah terrorist group’s ringleader Abdolmalek Rigi, was seized by Pakistani authorities who were tipped off to his movements and intercepted the bus some 50 km from Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Baluchistan, a security official said on the condition of anonymity.
Salam Rigi was accused of involvement in suicide bombings in Iran and Pakistan, as well as sending terrorists to the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
Other sources said the terrorist arrested was Abdo-Sattar Rigi (Abdolmalek’s brother), explaining that he was carrying his cousin’s ID card at the time of arrest, but further investigations revealed his true identity.
Later reports proved that the captured terrorist was Abdo-Sattar Rigi.
Abdo-Sattar (the third of the notorious Rigi brothers) headed the Jeish al-Nasr terrorist group, but his cousin Salam leads Jeish al-Adl.
Abdo-Sattar’s two older brothers, Abdolmalek and Abdolhamid Rigi, who led the more powerful terrorist group, Jundollah, were both captured and condemned to death by Iran earlier.
In early 2009, Abdolhamid Rigi, the Jundullah terrorist group’s number two man and brother of its ringleader Abdolmalek Rigi, was arrested by Iranian security forces.
Abdolhamid had conducted a number of bombing operations and other violent attacks in Iran resulting in many casualties and was sentenced to death by the court in 2009, but his execution was delayed on several occasions. Officials did not mention any specific reason for the delayed execution of Abdolhamid at the time.
Iran arrested Abdolmalek Rigi, the number one man of the Jundollah terrorist group in late February 2011. Abdolmalek was executed in June 2011.
Iranian military and police officials voice concern over the presence of terrorist groups in Pakistan’s territories, criticizing the Pakistani army and border police’s lax control over shared borders.
The two sides’ state and military officials have exchanged frequent visits to enhance anti-terrorism cooperation specially in border regions. In early December, top security officials from Iran and Pakistan met in Iran’s Southeastern city of Zahedan to hold the 22nd joint meeting on border cooperation between the two countries.
Late in October, Commander of the IRGC Ground Force Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour announced his forces’ preparedness to launch joint operations against the terrorists who abducted the Iranian border guards in Southeastern Iran.
“We have had different contacts with the Pakistani army and urged them to guarantee extradition of the outlaws and healthiness of the abductees and they should show more responsibility,” General Pakpour said, referring to the fate of the 9 border guards that are still kept by Jeish Al-Adl.
“These terrorists have a stronghold and a base on Pakistan’s soil and we are prepared for any joint operations with the Pakistani army against the outlaws to release the hostages,” he added.