Pakistan-Iran border reopens after four months

21:18, March 01, 2010      

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Pakistan-Iran border reopened on Monday and formal trade between the two countries has started at the border town Taftan, Pakistani officials said.

Officials from both countries gathered and reopened the border, giving in to a longstanding demand from people living on both sides of the border.

Jobs for thousands of people are linked with this border, which serves to be one of the most important places for trade activities in Pakistan's Balochistan.

Iranian border guards had closed the Pak-Iran border in the aftermath of a suicide bombing in the Pishin area of Sistan- Balochistan. However, with the capture of Jundallah leader Abdul Malik Rigi, the relations between the two countries are beginning to thaw.

The border was closed on Oct. 18 after Sistan suicide attack killed as many as 29 people in Iran's volatile southeast and wounded 28 others.

Iranian officials had blamed foreign elements behind the blast that also killed a top Revolutionary Guard commanders as well.

Suspicion for the attack was also centered on Jundallah, a militant Sunni group that has claimed responsibility for previous bombings.

Sistan-Balochistan, which is Iran's most notoriously lawless province, lies on a major drug transit run from Afghanistan. The leader of Jundallah was recently arrested by Iranian forces.

The province has been a center of recent unrest after Jundallah took up arms on behalf of the local Balochi Sunni population, which it claims suffering discrimination at the hands of Iran's Shia rulers.

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