PHOTO: Indian national Kulbushan Jadhav, accused by Pakistan of spying from an Iranian port
Iran has denied involvement in an espionage case in Pakistan, denying any connection with an Indian suspect who has been detained.
Pakistani security forces seized Kulbushan Jadhav in Baluchistan in the southwest of the country, near the Iranian border, earlier this week. Officials claim that the suspect is a Indian naval commander who is part of a spy ring operating out of the Chabahar port in southern Iran.
Indian firms have developed Chabahar as a potential rival to Pakistan’s Gwadar port. Pakistani officials said the suspect was operating as a “merchant” with a false Indian ID.
The incident marred President Rouhani’s two-day visit to Pakistan, seeking trade and investment deals. Pakistan’s army chief reportedly raised the case with the Iranian President, and the Interior Ministry sent a dossier to Tehran with the claims of Indian intelligence operating fro Iranian territory.
The Iranian embassy in Islamabad said on Friday that the reports of the Islamic Republic’s involvement are aimed at undermining the “friendly” and “growing” relationship between Pakistan and Iran. The embassy asserted, “Throughout its history, the Islamic Republic of Iran has shown that it is a reliable ally and neighbor on [Pakistan’s] western border, and Pakistan has never been threatened.”
India dismissed a video “confession” by Jadhav as having “no basis in fact”. They said he was a “former Indian naval officer, doing business in Iran”.
EA correspondent Umar Karim says Pakistan is particularly concerned by the alleged Indian activities because of concerns that they will “create chaos in Balochistan where an economic corridor is built up by China”.
Pakistani media are also reporting Islamabad’s anger over Iran’s failure to reciprocate recent cooperation, according to Karim: “When the Iranians needed it, Pakistan handed over to them the head of Jundallah [a Baluchistan-based insurgency], the most wanted man in Iran, and Pakistan has stayed mostly neutral in Yemen”, where Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia is attacking the Ansar Allah (Houthi) movement which controls the capital Sana’a.
Larijani: US Always Looks To Impose Sanctions
Echoing the Supreme Leader’s anti-US rhetoric and call for a firmer Iranian foreign and defense policy, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has accused Washington of always seeking pretexts to punish Iran financially.
The very countries that threw spanners in the works of the Islamic Republic of Iran may …once again move to impose new sanctions through other ways. Therefore, such measures and issues should be fully monitored.
Larijani warned that, given the “adventurism” of the US and its allies, “We definitely need solidarity and resistance to confront these measures.”
The Supreme Leader — contradicting the line of President Rouhani — has denounced the US for not fulfilling the July 2015 nuclear deal, maintaining sanctions on the banking and financial sectors and not returning Iranian assets.
Ayatollah Khamenei chided the Government for its foreign policy of “engagement” and called for a “Resistance Economy” of self-sufficiency.
US agencies are discussing some easing of the sanctions, including Iranian access to dollars, but the Obama Administration claims that Iran’s ballistic missile tests violate the nuclear deal. Washington also imposed new sanctions this week and indicted 7 Iranians for alleged cyber-warfare.
Larijani refuted the American claims as a “propaganda stunt”: “None of the ballistic missiles produced by Iran has been designed to carry nuclear warheads.”