Iran announces joint border security force with Pakistan

Saul Bowman
April 25, 2019

If the issue of terrorism had not existed, disagreements would not have arisen between the two countries, Imran Khan said at a joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on Monday, apparently referring to disputes over recent terrorist attacks mounted from Pakistani soil against Iranian border guards.

Pakistan and Iran on Monday agreed to boost security cooperation and set up a "Joint Rapid Reaction Force" to fight terrorism and guard the common border between the two countries. Iran, for its part, condemned the massacre and agreed to create a joint border "reaction force".

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday came under attack by the Opposition for acknowledging in Tehran that in the past militants had used his country's soil to carry out attacks in Iran.

Iran is willing to negotiate with America only when the United States lifts pressure and apologizes, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, according to state media.

Prime Minister Khan also acknowledged the border security issue figured high in his discussions, citing recent terrorist attacks in both countries, which share a frontier of more than 900-kilometers.

The ministry said the "killing of 14 innocent Pakistanis by terrorist groups based in Iran is a very serious incident that Pakistan protests strongly".

On Saturday, Foreign Minister Qureshi told journalists that Pakistan had established a border security force headquartered in Turbat, adding that a plan was under consideration for air surveillance of Pakistan-Iran border. Pakistan imports crude oil and electricity from Iran, which is reeling from the re-imposition of harsh economic sanctions in November.

The president of Iran also accepted an official invitation extended by Prime Minister Imran Khan for a visit to Pakistan.

'It is in the interest of both of our countries that there is peace in Afghanistan, ' Khan said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan and Iran signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate in the health sector.

Iran had in the past urged Pakistan to address the issue, even offering to launch a joint military and intelligence operation to locate and eliminate terrorists in Pakistani territories.

Iranian TV said that Khan began his two-day visit to Iran, the first since he took office last August, with a stop in the northeastern holy Shi'ite city of Mashhad.

Iran has accused regional rival Saudi Arabia of funding armed rebels.

In Pakistan's Balochistan province, Nasir Baloch says he and his family had a narrow escape when a rocket fired from Iran landed near their home in November 2013.

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