Iran urges more Pakistan anti-terror bids

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has called on the Pakistani government to make greater efforts in combating terrorism.

“Unfortunately, terrorist attacks in regional countries have endangered the lives of innocent people and we expect Pakistan’s government to expend more effort in fighting terrorism,” Mehmanparast said during his weekly press conference on Tuesday.

On January 10, nearly 130 people, including Shia Muslims, were killed and many others injured in a wave of deadly attacks targeting both Pakistani security guards and civilians in the country.

“All regional countries should cooperate to uproot this ominous phenomenon,” Mehmanparast added.

“Terrorism is the result of the interference of foreign countries in the region; they created this ominous phenomenon in order to achieve their political objectives,” Mehmanparast said, adding that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) can play a major role in mobilizing regional countries for the fight against acts of terror.

The crisis in Mali

Commenting on the crisis in Mali, the Iranian official said, “Our foreign policy is based on respecting the territorial integrity of countries,” adding that foreign countries must cease their support for armed groups that threaten the stability and security of countries.

Chaos broke out in the West African country after Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said they had mounted the coup in response to the government’s inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country, which had been going on for two months.

French President Francois Hollande announced on Friday that his country had launched a military intervention in its former colony to fight against the rebels.

Mehamnparast added, “We believe security and stability must be established, the territorial integrity of countries must be respected and any popular demand must be met through democratic procedures.”

Iran-P5+1 talks

Referring to the talks between Iran and the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, and the US plus Germany), Mehmanparast said both sides had reached an agreement on the date of the negotiations.

The Iranian official added that the agreement had been concluded during a phone conversation between EU’s Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs Helga Schmid and Undersecretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Baqeri on Monday.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, however, did not mention the date of the next round of talks.

“The deputy of [EU foreign policy chief] Mrs. [Catherine] Ashton is expected to inform us of the P5+1 response about the venue of the talks so that we could resume the negotiations,” he added.

Iran and the P5+1 have held several rounds of multifaceted talks mainly over Iran’s nuclear energy program.

The United States, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Iran argues that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

MYA/HMV/HJL