Iran steps up pressure on Pakistan over suicide attack

Tehran, in a strongly worded statement, also demanded extradition of Abdolmalek Rigi, the chief of Jundallah, the group it named responsible for the attack and said that a high-level team would travel to Islamabad to submit proof of the involvement of the group in the attack, which killed 42 people.

The war of words between the two neighbours escalated after Iran state television reported that fifteen members of the elite Revolutionary Guards were killed in a weekend suicide bomb attack in southeast Iran. Previous official figures had put the toll of the death of guard commanders as seven.

IRNA quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Manochehr Mottaki as saying that the group regularly crossed the frontier from Pakistan to carryout attacks on Iranian soil.
“They cross into Iran illegally. They are based in Pakistan,” Mottaki said without naming Jundallah directly.

“The hands of those behind the attack must be cut,” Mottaki demanded.

Response sought

Intelligence Minister Moslehi said according to the evidence, “Pakistan intelligence services were linked to the Rigi group” and demanded Islamabad clarify, prompting a response from Pakistan.

State-run APP quoted the official spokesman as saying “that there were forces which were out to spoil brotherly relations between Iran and Pakistan”.
As diplomatic row intensified, IRNA reported that three persons had been arrested in connections with the suicide blast.

The three were apprehended from Sistan-Baluchistan, where the attack took place.
The head of the Revolutionary Guard, whose deputy was killed in the blast, has demanded that Pakistan hand over Rigi to them.

General Mohammad Ali Jafari charged that Rigi took his orders from intelligence services of Pakistan, US and UK.

A Pakistani spokesman denied that Rigi was in Pakistan. “We don’t know his whereabouts”.

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