ISLAMABAD: A senior Iranian official has said that his country’s investigations into Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s presence in Iran, prior to his capture in Pakistan, have remained inconclusive.
“Had there been any result, it would have been shared with Pakistan,” Allaudin Boroujerdi, Chairman of Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran, said while responding to a question at a press conference held on Friday at the end of his three-day visit in which he met Adviser to the PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, National Security Adviser retired Lt Gen Nasser Janjua, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq and heads of parliamentary bodies.
Mr Boroujerdi spoke through an interpreter.
This was the first time that an Iranian official had publicly shared the update on the issue that has damaged mutual trust.
Pakistan government had earlier this month submitted a dossier to the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres on Jadhav’s involvement in espionage and subversive activities on its territory. The dossier was based on the probe carried out by Pakistani security agencies.
Jadhav was caught last year and his detention was announced a day before Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Islamabad last March. The spy’s capture eclipsed Mr Rouhani’s trip as the then Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif in his meeting took up the matter of RAW’s presence in Iran from where it was alleged to have been carrying out activities in Pakistan.
Jadhav was claimed to have remained based in Chabahar, Iran, under the pretext of being a jeweller/businessman. He had an Iranian visa on his Indian passport and had reportedly crossed over to Balochistan’s Mashkhel area from Saravan, Iran.
Later, Tehran was formally asked to investigate and share details of Jadhav’s activities in Iran, along with those of his colleague, identified as Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Sub Inspector Rakesh alias Rizwan. “Pakistan expects Iran to seriously look at Islamabad’s assertions and take every step to stem incursion of Indian spies into Pakistani territory,” the letter said.
Mr Boroujerdi, however, said that the matter continues to be discussed at the intelligence level.
“Intelligence agencies of both countries (Iran and Pakistan) are in contact over the matter and are discussing it,” he said.
The Iranian leader in his meetings with Pakistani interlocutors emphasised on activation of the bilateral mechanisms for dealing with border and security matters.
“These fora have not been active for quite some time now. We want to reactivate them to deal with issues of terrorism, narco-trafficking, and other border matters,” he said and added that Pakistani officials, whom he met, had agreed to his proposal.
Asked about how Iran would react to Pakistani former army chief retired Gen Raheel Sharif heading a military alliance put together by Saudi Arabia, he said “no one would like to associate with that coalition”.
Mr Boroujerdi, who had a day earlier while speaking at Oxbridge Lecture said that Iran does not see the Saudi alliance as threat to itself, said the Saudis were committing massacre in Yemen. He feared that the Saudi alliance would also indulge in “killing of the innocent”.
The Iranian leader said he was hopeful about improvement in Pak-Iran relationship. The ties have over decades suffered from mutual mistrust.
“The atmosphere is conducive for better relations,” he noted without specifying the basis of his optimism except for that the leaders of both countries were committed to improving the ties.
Published in Dawn January 28th, 2017