PDKI members inspect the damage to their Koya headquarters by Iranian missile strikes. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iran’s top general demanded the Kurdistan Region “hand over” Iranian-Kurdish dissidents based in the region.
"The state of Iraq and Kurdistan Region must not allow bases to be built that would cause insecurity and in fact they must hand all of them over," Maj. Gen. Mohammed Bagheri, commander-in-chief of all armed forces, said in comments carried by Fars news on Tuesday.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) fired seven surface-to-surface missiles across the border on Saturday morning, striking camps and headquarters of two Iranian-Kurdish parties, the PDKI and the KDP-I, near the Kurdistan Region’s Koya while they were holding leadership meetings.
At least 16 people were killed.
The IRGC said the launched the strike against “terror groups” after they ignored warnings from Erbil and Tehran to move their bases from the Region and cease attacks on Iranian forces.
The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) is officially opposed to any Kurdish group using the Region’s territory to attack neighbouring Iran or Turkey and it repeated this stance after the Saturday strikes.
Iranian-Kurdish parties have had camps and bases in the present-day Kurdistan Region since the early 1980s.
Maj. Gen. Bagheri said the parties “disobeyed” requests from KRG authorities to cease their activities.
“They had promised that they would not carry out operations inside Iran, but since last year and with goading from America and regional countries they've broken that promise and carried out acts that could not be tolerated despite many warnings,” he said.
The current administration in Washington has made no secret its opposition to the regime in Tehran and Iranian-Kurdish parties have campaigned
for their cause in the American capital.
US Vice President Mike Pence, in a phone call with KRG PM Nechirvan Barzani, “condemned Iran’s recent rocket attacks into the Kurdistan Region as an effort to threaten and destabilize its closest neighbor.”
The US considers Iran a major threat to Middle Eastern peace and stability.
Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial executions, reacted to the strike in a tweet, describing the cross-border attack as a “quite bold dangerous move. Escalation.”
The Kurdish parties reported a buildup Iranian troops on the border with the Kurdistan Region, possibly also crossing the frontier with heavy weaponry.
Some 200 families have fled their homes
in the border area after a week of bombardment.