Iran threatens action against Pakistan-based terrorist groups

NEW DELHI: It is not just India that is taking action — and contemplating more — against Pakistan for its terror proxies. In the heat of the India-Pakistan conflict of the past week, it skipped notice that leaders in the Iranian government and armed forces have threatened to act against Pakistani terror groups since the country cannot act against them.
General Qassem Soleimani, the all powerful commander of the IRGC Quds Force, issued stern warnings to the Pakistani government and its military establishment. “I have this question for the Pakistani government: where are you heading to? You have caused unrest along borders with all your neighbours and do you have any other neighbour left that you want to stir insecurity for," Gen Soleimani was quoted as saying.
“Are you, who have atomic bombs, unable to destroy a terrorist group with several hundred members in the region?” he asked, adding that Pakistan should not test Iran’s resolve.
India and Iran have enhanced their counter-terrorism cooperation in recent years. This will top discussions between the two countries when the next round of foreign office consultations are scheduled. Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale was scheduled to travel to Iran over the weekend but the trip was postponed due to the India-Pakistan crisis.
Chairman of the Iranian parliament’s foreign policy commission Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh was also quoted as saying that Iran wanted to build a wall on its border with Pakistan, and promised Tehran would take action inside Pakistan if it was incapable of doing so to stop cross-border attacks into Iran.
Even the top aide of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, went on record to castigate Pakistan. This is significant because it is a sign that Iran’s supreme leader wants the message to go out to Pakistan. "These criminal outlaws were from one of the tribes of Balochistan who had been trained on suicide operations in the neighbouring country, and the neighbouring country and the ISI should account to the Iranian government and nation and the IRGC for how they have crossed the borders of that country and why this neighbouring country has turned into a safe haven and a place for training and dispatch of these infidel terrorist grouplets (to Iran)," he was reported as saying.

Ali Jafari, commander of the IRGC, also warned Pakistan against supporting terror. "Pakistan should know that it should pay the cost for the Pakistani intelligence organisation's support for Jeish al-Zolm (as Jaish al-Adl is called in Iran) from now on and this price will no doubt be very heavy for them," he said. "Undoubtedly, the Pakistani security organisation knows the hideout of the grouplets but it has kept mum," Jafari added.

In Afghanistan, Rahmatullah Nabil, former chief of its intelligence agency and a contender in the upcoming presidential elections, said Pakistan’s ISI sheltered and supported between 45-48 terror groups for its neighbouring countries. “Pakistan has been using terrorism as a tool and tactic,” Nabil was quoted as saying to an interviewer. “India should have done this (Balakot strikes) much earlier,” he added.

“I hope Iran will also take action against Jaish al-Adl. Because if the US leaves the region — and we hope they leave behind a good legacy — but if they simply withdraw, that will give a sense of victory to all terrorist networks not just in the region but on the other side as well,” Nabil said.



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