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Iran asks Turkey for explanation over deaths of border guards

This file photo shows an Iranian border post.

Iran says it has asked for explanation from Turkey after a cross-border attack left two Iranian border guards dead on Saturday.  

"The subject has been announced to the Turkish government through diplomatic channels and we are awaiting their response," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told a weekly news briefing in Tehran Monday.   

Seven border guards were also injured when PJAK terrorists attacked them while they were changing posts, before retreating into Turkey. 

"This is an unpleasant incident. We don't like to have insecure borders with Turkey. We hope that with the prudence, responsibility and response of the Turkish government, we can take a decision," he added. 

Iran’s border police chief also said Turkey should be held accountable for the deaths of the Iranian border guards and for letting terrorist groups operate in its border areas. 

"We consider Turkey liable and the country should be held accountable for this act of terrorism,” Tasnim news agency quoted Brigadier General Qassem Rezaei as saying Sunday. 

PJAK is an offshoot of Turkey's Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and is known for carrying out random hit-and-run attacks against Iranian targets, after which they retreat to their lairs in Turkey as well as Iraq. 

They carry out their attacks in parts of Iran's West Azerbaijan province which borders Iraq, Turkey, and Armenia. Rezaei said "unfortunately, in the areas bordering Turkey, we witness activities by terrorist groups under various pretexts.”

Earlier this month, Iran said it welcomed Turkey's plan to build a 144-kilometer wall along its border. Ankara says the wall is aimed at halting the movement of PKK militants who are based in Iraq’s Qandil mountains bordering Iran and Turkey.

Beside terrorists, smugglers also use the border to bring in bootleg goods such as alcohol from Turkey and northern Iraq.

The Iranian commander issued a harsh warning, saying “terrorist groups will soon meet a crushing response for their stupid acts."

Iran's border police chief Brigadier General Qassem Rezaei 

"Terrorist groups are one of the plots of the world arrogance. They once used to go on rampage in the country’s northwest and operate within our borders. But, today they are based outside our borders," Rezaei said. 

"The blows which have been dealt to terrorist groups by security, military and defense forces have forced them to carry out their idiotic acts somewhere else but they will receive a teeth-breaking response anyway," he added. 

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Last month, 10 Iranian border guards were killed and two others injured in an ambush attack near the town of Mirjaveh in the southeastern Sistan-and-Baluchestan province. The assailants escaped into Pakistan after the attack, for which the Jaish ul-Adl terrorist group claimed responsibility.

“We have many different enemies who have infiltrated parts of the countries around us,” Rezaei said.  

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