Baku, Azerbaijan, March 28
By Umid Niayesh, Saeed Isayev - Trend:
Iran continues its efforts to return its border guards that were kidnapped on Feb. 6 in the Jakigour region of the province of Sistan and Baluchestan in southeastern Iran which borders with Pakistan.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on his Facebook page on March 28 that the country is doing all it can to "return the kidnapped border guards safe to their families". The high-ranking official also wrote that promotions and slogans only complicate the case.
Zarif previously said that the foreign ministry officials are pursuing the case seriously, yet do not make detailed statements because of the case being too sensitive.
The guards were kidnapped and transferred to the Pakistani territory. The Jaish al-Adl group claimed responsibility for the abductions. On March 23, Jaish al-Adl tweeted that it has hanged Jamshid Danayeefar, one of the five kidnapped guards. The information was later confirmed.
Iran's Khabar Online news portal reported a while ago that in exchange for the border guards, Jaish al-Adl wants Iran to release 50 members of its group, 200 other Sunni prisoners being held in Iran and 50 female Sunni prisoners in Syria. If the demands are not met, the rest of the guards would be killed as well.
Responding to some critics who accused Iranian administration of not acting seriously on the issue compared to other countries, Zarif said that the critics neglect the historic realities.
"Dozens of the Western countries' citizens have been kidnapped and killed by the similar extremist groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria," Zarif wrote, adding that other states have had to pursue such cases with patience and without promotional slogans, as such approach is the best.
While Jaish al-Adl has claimed that Iran did not take any steps to negotiate the release of the border guards, the Islamic Republic said the opposite, as its officials have held several meetings on the case, as well as the country's president Hassan Rouhani spoke with Pakistani Prime Minister, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif regarding the case.
On March 26, Zarif wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, asking him to urge the concerned countries to expedite probing into the fate of the border guards.
On March 26, Iran's interior minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli called on the Pakistani government to demonstrate great responsibility addressing the issue.
If Pakistan will not approach the issue on the release of the Iranian border guards with full responsibility, Iran reserves the right to take all measures to protect its borders, Rahmani Fazli said.
He urged the Pakistani government to take all necessary measures to release the Iranian guards and observe the principles of good neighbourly relations in the framework of international norms and rules.