Summary: Iranian artists, journalists and academics in a statement issued on Tuesday asked the UN, international figures and the Pakistani government to help secure the release of the five border guards abducted by a terrorist group along Iran-Pakistan border on February 6.
“We as Iranian artists with different tastes and viewpoints, ask all influential world officials, the UN and the government of the friendly and neighboring country of Pakistan to make an utmost use of their power in a humanitarian move to bring back our youths, these innocent soldiers who have been taken hostage at our country’s Southeastern borders, to their worried families as soon as possible,” the statement said.
The statement already carries the signature of more than 250 renowned Iranian artists, academicians and journalists, including iconic cineasts and actors Ezzatollah Entezami, Jamshid Mashayekhi, Ali Nasirian, Roya No-Nahali, Mohammad Ali Keshavarz, Davoud Rashidi, Parviz Parastouyee, Reza Kianian, Jamal Shourjeh, Rakhshan Bani-E'temad, Kamal Tabrizi, Seyed Reza Mir-Karimi, Nasser Taqvayee and OSCAR wining Director Asqar Fahadi.
The statement is receiving more signatures from the Iranian art and elites community.
Five Iranian border guards were abducted in Jakigour region of Iran’s Sistan-and Balouchestan Province on February 6 and taken to Pakistani territory.
The so-called Jeish al-Adl terrorist group claimed responsibility for the abductions.
In February, the terrorist Jeish al-Adl group set several conditions for releasing the five Iranian soldiers in a statement on its website. The group has called on Iran to release 50 of its arrested members, 200 Sunni prisoners and 50 female militants imprisoned in Syria in a swap deal with the five border guards.
The outlawed terrorist group Jeish al-Adl released a photo of the kidnapped border guards on its Tweeter page and claimed the responsibility for their abduction on February 8. Earlier reports had said that the abducted soldiers had been transferred to Pakistan which has a long border with Iran in the Southeastern parts of the country.
On February 11, Iran called on Pakistani officials to arrest and extradite the members of the terrorist Jeish al-Adl group who are responsible for the recent abduction of the five Iranian border guards.
“Unfortunately, we are witnessing the abduction of 5 Iranian border guards by the terrorist groups,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said in her weekly press conference in Tehran at the time.
Afkham elaborated on the measures taken by Iran in pursuit of the fate of the 5 border guards, and said Tehran's officials have made visits to Pakistan, summoned Islamabad’s ambassador to Tehran to the foreign ministry and called for the country’s serious acts to control the border regions.
“We also want them to identify the abductors of the border guards and extradite them to the Iranian officials and we are ready to cooperate with Pakistan to establish security at the borders and fight outlawed and terrorist groups in Pakistan,” she underlined.
On February 9, Iran’s Police Chief Brigadier General Esmayeel Ahmadi Moqaddam voiced concern over the presence of terrorist groups in Pakistan's territories, and underlined that Iran's police along with the Foreign Ministry are resolved to do their best to clear the fate of the five Iranian guards abducted at the Iran-Pakistan border.
Ahmadi Moqaddam criticized the performance of the Pakistani government and its border police in the joint border region.
He then asked how it is possible that certain elements ambush the Iranian guards, kidnap them, take them to Pakistan and release some photos of them.
The Islamic Republic has asked Interpol to prosecute those behind the abduction.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for an investigation into the incident, tasking the Foreign Ministry with taking the necessary measures to implement a border security agreement with Pakistan.
In February 2013, Iran and Pakistan signed a security agreement, under which both countries are required to cooperate in preventing and combating organized crime, fighting terrorism and countering the activities that pose a threat to the national security of either country.
Iran has repeatedly called on Pakistan to comply with the terms of the agreement.
On February 15, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli held Pakistan accountable for the kidnapping of the five Iranian border guards.