News & Politics

Iran Warns Pakistan over Harboring Sunni Terrorists

Mourners carry flag-draped caskets during a mass funeral for those killed in a suicide car bombing that targeted members of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard in earlier in the week, killing at least 27 people, in Isfahan, Iran, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. The head of the Guard has threatened to retaliate against neighboring Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates over the bombing. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

The U.S. isn’t the only country to accuse Pakistan of assisting terrorists. Iran is warning Islamabad that it will “pay a high price” for giving refuge to terrorists who target Iran.

Revolutionary Guard Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari spoke at the funeral for 27 of his men who died in a suicide blast on Wednesday. A Sunni terrorist group, Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), claimed responsibility for the attack. It is believed that the JaA has bases in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, where they carry out cross-border raids against Iranian security forces, including the Revolutionary Guard.

Jafari also warned Saudi Arabia, which is believed to be providing financial support to the terrorists.

Reuters:

“The treacherous 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 Greatest).

Iran’s Shi’ite Muslim authorities say militant groups operate from safe havens in Pakistan and have repeatedly called on the neighboring country to crack down on them.

Jafari’s remarks came 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.

The obvious question is whether the U.S. also supports these Sunni and Arab terrorist groups. ISIS has been getting more active in Iran, carrying out several attacks, including a strike on a military parade last September that killed 25. It’s not likely we’re assisting the Islamic State. But other Sunni Arab extremist groups could be getting covert U.S. assistance. Arabs are an oppressed minority in Shiite Iran and there are several militant groups that target the hated Revolutionary Guard and other elements of the Iranian government’s security apparatus.

JaA has frequently attacked isolated border positions, blowing up vehicles and killing border guards. This goes largely unreported in the Iranian media, as do more serious attacks carried out by Jundallah, an Arab rights group designated by the Obama administration as a terrorist group in 2010. Jundallah is not a separatist group; they apparently just like killing Iranians.

The Saudis, other Gulf states, and Pakistan all share a national interest in containing Iran or destroying the regime. None of those states is above using terrorist groups to further their national goals, and have proven it time and time again. Even though the Sunni-backed terror groups are killing Iranian security forces, they are also killing civilians in the process.

It would be best if the U.S. steered clear of them.