Iran has condemned a bomb attack in northwestern Pakistan, saying the act of terror was carried out as a ploy to serve the interests of the enemies of Islam.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran views such terrorist acts in line with realizing the evil objectives of enemies of the Pakistani nation and the Islamic world," said Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, nearly two dozen people were killed in a bombing outside a government building in the town of Mardan, located about 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, near the country's border with Afghanistan. Pakistani officials said some 70 others were wounded in the attack which targeted the regional office of the National Database and Registration Authority.
In his statement, Jaberi Ansari offered condolences to the bereaved and the government of the "friendly and brotherly nation" of Pakistan.
Shortly after the attack, a spokesman for the militant group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a breakaway from the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the bombing, saying it was to "punish" government agencies over the support they provide to the security forces in the country.
The attack seemed to be a response to Pakistan's ever-increasing crackdown on the militants which began in December 2014, when militants killed nearly 150 people, mainly children, in an attack on an army-run school in Peshawar.
Since then, the Pakistani military has been engaged in a wide-scale operation against the militants. Pakistan is known as an old backer of the Taliban militants in neighboring Afghanistan.