Iran’s foreign minister did not threaten Pakistan with another attack
A false statement has been attributed to him
Claim: Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said that if Pakistan and Iraq do not take Iran’s warnings seriously, they will hit them again.
Fact: The statement has been falsely attributed to the Iranian foreign minister. A similar statement was issued by the Defence Minister of Iran, Brigadier General Mohammadreza Ashtiani who said that Iran will react to anyone that threatens the country’s security. However, he did not specifically mention or warn Pakistan.
Tensions escalated as Pakistan recalled its ambassador, suspended visits, and advised Iran’s ambassador to stay away temporarily. Iran’s strike in Balochistan followed soon after their attacks in Iraq to target Israeli spies and in Syria against the Islamic State (IS).
In response, Pakistan conducted an operation on 18 January striking a “number of terrorists” and “hideouts used by terrorist organisations namely, Balochistan Liberation Army [BLA] and Balochistan Liberation Front [BLF]” in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province. The attack resulted in nine casualties, as per media in Tehran.
During the operation ‘Marg Bar Sarmachar’, Pakistan used “killer drones, rockets, loitering munitions, and stand-off weapons”, according to its military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
After four days, both countries decided to de-escalate tensions through dialogue and diplomacy. Following a meeting between the two countries foreign ministers on 29 January in Islamabad, the neighbouring countries agreed that they would expand security cooperation and move on from missile strikes.
Fact or Fiction?
On 20 January 2023, X (formerly Twitter) account @SouthAsiaIndex claimed that Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian has said that if Pakistan and Iraq do not take their warnings seriously, they will attack them again.
The tweet reads,
“Tehran:— “If Pakistan and Iraq don’t take our warnings seriously, we will hit again.” – Iran foreign minister”
Soch Fact Check found the claim to be false. There is no evidence to suggest that the Iranian foreign minister made the aforementioned statement.
To check the veracity of the claim, we searched the Iranian foreign ministry’s website for recent statements. A statement was released on 17 January with details of a telephonic conversation between the Iranian and Pakistani foreign ministers following Tehran’s 16 January attack. Another statement released on 18 January addresses Pakistan’s retaliatory strikes, and a statement from 19 January includes details of a phone call between the top diplomats of both countries.
Contrary to the viral post, none of these statements from Iran’s Foreign Ministry issue an explicit or implicit warning or threat to Pakistan or Iraq.
However, while investigating the claim, we came across a similar statement by the Iranian defence minister posted on X on 20 January by AlHadath, an interactive Saudi news channel focusing on political events in the Arab region.
An English translation of the statement, originally issued in Persian, is as follows,
“Iranian Defense Minister: If Iraq and Pakistan do not heed our warnings, we will carry out other operations.”
The full statement by the Iranian defence minister as quoted by Iran International, a Persian language news television channel, reads in English, “We will not accept being exposed to risks from the two neighbouring countries, and we have warned them previously, and if they do not take our warnings into consideration, we will carry out other operations.”
The aforementioned statement attributed to the defence minister was not reported by any credible news agency such as Irib News Agency, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), and Mehr News Agency either.
Mehr News Agency, however, quoted Iran’s Defence Minister Brigadier General Mohammadreza Ashtiani as saying that although Iran respects the territorial integrity of all countries, it has no restrictions in defending its national interest. According to this report, the defence minister reiterated that “Any kind of action that violates the rights of the Iranian people, we will definitely react and we will react strongly and we will not set any limits”.
IRNA also carried Ashtiani’s statement about Iran having no limits when it comes to defending its national security. Even though his statement referred to Iran’s neighbouring countries, his comment did not specifically mention Pakistan or Iraq.
Hence, we conclude that neither the Iranian foreign minister nor their defence minister issued any warnings of a second attack on Pakistan specifically.
The tweet by @SouthAsiaIndex gained significant traction with 497,800 views, 3,800 likes and 895 reposts.
Conclusion: Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian did not issue a warning of a second attack to Pakistan and Iraq. The actual statement came from Iran’s Defence Minister who reiterated a general response to those threatening Iran’s security, without pinpointing Pakistan or Iraq.
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