Tehran: The head of the Iranian armed forces warned Islamabad on Monday that Tehran would hit bases inside Pakistan if the government does not confront militants who carry out cross-border terror attacks.
Ten Iranian border guards were killed by militants last month. Iran said Pakistan based ‘Jaish-al-Adl’, terror group, had shot the guards with long-range guns, fired from inside Pakistan.
The group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.
The border area has long been plagued by unrest from both drug smuggling gangs and terrorists.
“The border area on the Pakistani soil has “unfortunately” turned into a haven and training ground for “Saudi-hired terrorists, who enjoy the US endorsement,” Major General Mohammad Baqeri, the head of the Iranian armed forces was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.
“We cannot accept the continuation of this situation,” General Mohammad Baqeri said.
“We expect the Pakistani officials to control the borders, arrest the terrorists and shut down their bases,” Baqeri said.
“If the terrorist attacks continue, we will deal crushing blows to their safe havens and cells, wherever they are,” he said.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Pakistan last week and asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to improve the border security. Pakistan assured Iran it would deploy additional troops along its border.
In 2014 Iran warned it would send troops to Pakistan to retrieve five Iranian border guards kidnapped by Jaish al Adl.
Pakistan said at the time that such action would be violation of the international law and warned Iranian forces not to cross the border.
Iran refrained from sending the troops when a local cleric stepped in and resolved the situation.
Four of the guards were released a few months later, but one was killed by the militants.
In related remarks Baqeri said it is up to the Islamic Republic to decide the targets of its counterstrikes against potential aggressors.
In the event such transgression takes place by the enemies, “[our] immediate, decisive, and crushing response in the points that we determine, will bring about their regret and defeat.”
The comments came in the wake of remarks against Tehran by Saudi Deputy Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al Saud.
Riyadh, which is embroiled in a bloody war in neighbouring Yemen for more than two years now, accuses Tehran of regional intervention.
Mohammed, who is also the Saudi defense minister, accused Tehran last week of seeking to “control the Muslim world,” and said, “We will work to have the battle in Iran rather than in Saudi Arabia.”
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