Biden comments on Iran-Pakistan clash, cites regional discontent with Iran

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden remarked Thursday that the recent clashes between Iran and Pakistan indicate Iran’s lack of popularity in the region.

The statement follows Pakistan’s strikes on Thursday against separatist militants inside Iran. These attacks were in retaliation for Tehran’s earlier strikes within Pakistani territory, targeting another militant group.

“As you can see, Iran is not particularly well-liked in the region, and where that goes, we’re working on now. I don’t know where that goes,” Biden said.

Iranian state media reported the death toll from Pakistan’s early Thursday morning missile attack in Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan region has reached nine, up from the initially reported seven. Initial reports stated the casualties included three women and four children.

The Pakistani army confirmed it used killer drones, rockets, loitering munitions, and stand-off weapons in precision strikes targeting the Balochistan Liberation Army and the Balochistan Liberation Front.

Eyewitness video from a village near Saravan showed villagers amidst rubble and severely damaged buildings. “Two men were also killed in the missile attack this morning in one of the border villages of Saravan, bringing the death toll to nine,” said Alireza Marhamati, Sistan-Baluchistan’s deputy provincial governor, as reported by IRNA.

Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi disclosed in a TV interview that all the victims were foreign nationals. Fars news agency suggested, without citing sources, that they were Pakistani nationals.

Mehr news agency previously reported the region experienced “drone and missile attacks,” resulting in several injuries.

This clash follows Iran’s strike on a “terrorist” target in Pakistan two days earlier, killing at least two children. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian linked the attack to Jaish al-Adl, a group Tehran considers a terrorist organization.