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February 17, 2019

Attack on Revolutionary Guards: Iranian general warns Pakistan

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February 17, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Iran urged Pakistan on Saturday to crack down on militants who killed 27 of its Revolutionary Guards in an attack near the border or expect military action by Tehran "to punish the terrorists."

 The Saudi based English daily The Arab News reported this by referring to the statement of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRG) known as Pasdaran commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari. Jafari said, "If Pakistan does not carry out its responsibilities, Iran reserves the right to confront threats on its borders based on international law and will retaliate to punish the terrorists."

A suicide car bomber killed 27 members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday in a southeastern region where security forces are facing rise in attacks by militants. The group Jaish al Adl (Army of Justice) claimed responsibility for the attack. Iran's authorities say militant groups operate from safe havens in Pakistan and have repeatedly called on the neighbouring country to crack down on them. The diplomatic sources told The News that Pakistan had throughout been denying presence of any safe haven of any terror group on its soil. Interestingly Jaish al Adl is an outlawed outfit in Pakistan. The sources reminded that Pakistan wouldn’t ignore the observations of the Iranian commander as Islamabad in accordance with its policy will address the Iranian grievances. An action would be taken in a couple of days, the sources added. A high power delegation could be assigned later next week to pacify Iran and explain Pakistan’s position.

Meanwhile, international media reported from Dubai that the Revolutionary Guards chief Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari accused Tehran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of supporting militant groups that attacked Iranian forces, saying they could face “reprisal operations.” Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE deny backing such militants. “Why do Pakistan’s army and security body ... give refuge to these anti-revolutionary groups? Pakistan will no doubt pay a high price,” Jafari said in remarks live on state television. “Just in the past year, six or seven suicide attacks were neutralised but they were able to carry out this one,” Jafari told the mourners. “The Saudi and UAE governments should know that Iran’s patience has ended and we will no longer stand your secret support for these anti-Islam criminals,” Jafari said. “We will avenge the blood of our martyrs from the Saudi and UAE governments and ask the President (Hassan Rouhani) to leave our hands free more than ever for reprisal operations,” Jafari told the crowd, drawing chants of “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great).

Jafari’s remarks come amid heightening regional tensions after Israel and the Gulf Arab states attended a summit in the Polish capital Warsaw this week where the United States hoped to ratchet up pressure against Iran. Wednesday’s attack was claimed by Baloch separatists. The bomb struck a bus traveling between the cities of Khash and Zahedan, a mountainous region along the Pakistani border that is also near Afghanistan.

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