And a number of regional states also, says Tehran
The dramatic arrest of Abdolmalek Rigi, leader of a high-profile anti-Iran militant group based in Pakistan, should worry the intelligence agencies of the United States, Britain and a number of “regional states,” a senior Iranian official has said.
“The information that he [Rigi] has is more important than his trial and punishment. He must answer many questions, and that is a point worrying the powers and countries which supported him,” General Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr, a former commander of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and an adviser to Iran's judiciary chief has said.
Iranian officials say Rigi, head of the militant group Jundallah, worked closely with the intelligence services of the U.S, Britain and Israel. Iranian media reports say Rigi was nabbed on Tuesday after authorities forced his plane, which had left Dubai, and was on its way to Kyrgyzstan, to land at the southern port city of Bandar Abbas. Rigi was travelling on an Afghan passport which the Iranians allege was provided to him by the U.S. Iranian intelligence was apparently tracking Rigi's movements since a suicide bombing in October killed senior commanders of the IRGC at Sarbaz, a city in the Sistan Baluchistan province, bordering Pakistan.
General Zolqdar told Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency (FNA) that for Iran, it was “highly important” to obtain information from the Jundallah chief “about his contacts in the U.S. and British spy agencies and the way they contacted him as well as [his information about] the crimes that he has carried out on their orders”. He said Rigi would also have at his command, valuable information about the “financial and logistical” support he had been receiving from “a number of regional states”.
At a press conference in Tehran, following the arrest, Pakistan's Ambassador Mohammad Bakhsh Abbasi said “nobody can assume that Pakistan would act against Iran”.
Asked about other Jundallah members' hideouts in Pakistan, Mr. Abbasi said the group did not run any camps in the country.
According to FNA, he also denied media reports that Islamabad had issued fake identification documents to Rigi.
On Tuesday, Iran's Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi had clarified that the arrest was a solo Iranian operation, and no other country including Pakistan, had “a share in this success”.