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By Augustine Anthony
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan will support Iran in tracking down those responsible for a suicide bomb attack in southeastern Iran, Pakistan's foreign minister said on Wednesday, as calls in Iran grew for the perpetrators to be punished.
Sunni Muslim rebel group Jundollah (God's soldiers) claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack that killed 42 people, including several commanders of Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
Iran says it operates from across the border in Pakistan.
The commander of the Guards' ground forces, Mohammad Pakpour, was quoted by state television as seeking permission on Tuesday to hunt terrorists inside neighbouring Pakistan.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi declined to comment on the television report and said an Iranian delegation was due in Pakistan for talks.
"We will help them and support them in unearthing the people responsible," Qureshi told Reuters by telephone. "We will sort this thing out on a government-to-government basis.
He said terrorism was a regional problem and the two countries had to help each other.
"What we are asking is that we as neighbours, as friends, as brotherly friendly countries, have to adopt a cooperative regional approach to deal with this menace," he said. "Pakistan is suffering, Pakistan is a victim of terrorism."
Pakistan launched a long-awaited offensive against militants in its northwest on the weekend after a string of bomb and suicide attacks rocked the country in recent weeks and killed more than 150 people.
Pakistan has condemned Sunday's bombing which it called a "ghastly act of terrorism" in an area near its border with Iran.
Analysts say Jundollah is increasingly inspired by Sunni Islamist militants based in Pakistan.
Jundollah denies any links to regional militant groups but analysts have linked it to the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), an anti-Shi'ite group based in Pakistan's Punjab province which works closely with the Pakistani Taliban.
Both are believed to have close ties to al Qaeda.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, spoke on the telephone this week and stressed the need for cooperation in confronting and eradicating "criminal terrorists."
Relations between Iran and Pakistan have been generally good in recent years and the neighbours are cooperating on plans to build a natural gas pipeline.
But Iran has in the past accused Pakistan of hosting members of Jundollah, and Guards commander-in-chief Mohammad Ali Jafari said on Monday the group had ties with U.S., British and Pakistani intelligence organisations.
(Reporting by Augustine Anthony; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Reuters