The Iranian guards abducted by Jaish al-Adl. Photo: Radio Farda
TORONTO, Canada – In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Iranian authorities called for an investigation into the abduction of five border guards, one of whom was assassinated.
On February 7, 2014 five Iranian border guards, in the area between Pakistan and Iran, were abducted. A militant Pakistani group named Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for the abduction.
In his letter to the UN, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the Jaish al-Adl an “extremist, terrorist group.” He also pointed to the possibility that other guards also had been assassinated. He declared that Pakistan should be held accountable for the death of the Iranian soldier, who the group said had been killed.
The Jaish al-Adl asked Iran to release 50 of its members in Iranian prisons, 200 civilian Sunni prisoners and 50 other prisoners in Syria allegedly held captive by Iranian forces.
Iran, which is run by a Shiite clerical government, has demonstrated little tolerance for its small Sunni minority, which suffers grave discrimination and lives mainly in the poor border regions.
Last Thursday, Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani announced that Tehran has had “positive conversations” over the release of the soldiers. At the same time, Iranian authorities maintain they would not converse with terrorist groups and will only deal with the government of Pakistan.
The death of Jamshid Danaeifar, who was among the abducted guards, was announced on Twitter by Jaish al-Adl on Sunday.
Ali Asghar Mirshekar, the governor-general of Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province, confirmed the death.
Iran’s ethnic Baluchis live in Sistan-Baluchistan, which borders Pakistan. They are subject to discrimination in Iran over ethnicity and religion. The province is impoverished and underdeveloped.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Tasnim Aslam, announced that a thorough search to find the group had failed.
This latest incident further aggravates the complex relationship between Tehran and Islamabad.Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by phone that he expects “serious, quick and practical” action from Islamabad, according to Iranian media reports. Sharif reportedly reassured Rouhani that Pakistan would do all it can to find the abductors.