Zarif in Pakistan for Border Security Talks

The visit comes in the wake of a recent cross-border attack on Iranian guards by Pakistan-based militants
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar in Islamabad on May 3.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar in Islamabad on May 3.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in neighboring Pakistan on Tuesday for talks on improving border security cooperation, after Pakistan-based militants killed 10 Iranian guards in a cross-border attack last Wednesday.

Armed clashes with the terrorists that took place near the town of Mirjaveh in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan also injured three Iranian guards.

The Pakistan-based Jaish al-Adl terrorist group claimed the attack in a statement.

A high-level delegation of diplomats and security and military officials are accompanying Zarif on the trip, Fars News Agency reported.

President Hassan Rouhani, in a message to Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif the day after the incident, lamented the frequent recurrence of similar incidents at the border with Pakistan and called for the prosecution of militants involved in the attack.  

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has always regarded stability, security and development of its friendly neighbor Pakistan as a top priority in bilateral relations. It now feels troubled by frequent assaults from Pakistan-based armed bandits and terrorist hirelings," the message said. Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan has said Iran reserves the right to give a crushing response to the terrorist attack.

"While we reserve the right to give a firm response to such acts of terror, we call on Pakistani officials to arrest and punish the perpetrators of this crime at the earliest," Dehqan said.

Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned Pakistani Ambassador Asif Durrani to lodge a protest.

Durrani expressed sympathies over the tragedy and said he would convey Iran's protest to the Pakistani government.

Upon arrival in Islamabad, Zarif and some members of the Iranian delegations met Sharif.

The top diplomat was also to hold discussions with other high-ranking Pakistani officials, including Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Speaker of Pakistan's National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.

Sistan-Baluchestan in southeastern Iran has long been plagued by unrest caused by drug smuggling gangs and armed militants.

Several attacks have been carried out by the Jaish al-Adl militant group against Iranian security forces.  

The group claimed the attacks that killed eight border guards in April 2015 and 14 border guards in October 2013.

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