Members of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) take guard at a post near the Kurdish-Iranian borders in December 2017. File photo:Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A Kurdish armed group opposed to Tehran has claimed that their fighters killed at least 6 Iranian security forces in West Azerbaijan province, western Iran on Wednesday afternoon.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards confirmed that three of their fighters were killed by “anti-Revolutionary elements” during the clashes and they are now looking for those who caused the deaths in the border areas.
Rostam Jahangiri, a commander from the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), said the clashes happened when a unit of Iranian security forces “attacked” Zewe village in Piranshahr.
He claimed that the Iranian unit “humiliated” the villagers and then burned and bombed some homes in Zewe, adding that they also caused damage to the livestock there.
Responding to the attack, the PDKI’s “Urban Peshmerga” engaged the Iranian security forces, Jahangiri said.
Peshmerga fighters who operate inside Iran close to urban areas are called Urban Peshmerga. Other fighters are stationed in the mountains located inside the Kurdistan Region.
Jahangiri, citing local informants, said at least 6 other Iranian security forces were injured in the clashes that ended around 4:20 pm local time.
Iranian security forces have been deployed to the area, he added.
Piranshahr, a Kurdish city, is close to the borders of the Kurdistan Region where the PDKI and other armed groups opposed to the Iranian state are stationed.
Jahangiri told Rudaw in late December that they want to operate deep inside Iranian territories
to help empower the Kurdish people in their demands for cultural and national rights.
The party ended a two-decade ceasefire in 2015 with the objective of deploying armed Peshmerga to north and northwestern parts of Iran where millions of Kurds live.
The attack comes as anti-government protests have taken place across dozens of Iranian cities for the past week, including in Kurdish cities. People have taken to the streets to protest high unemployment, corruption, inflation, and expensive food items. Some have also called for a regime change. At least 21 people have been killed.
All Kurdish parties opposed to Iran have expressed their support for the protests.
“The international community must support people in their struggle for democracy in Iran," PDKI General-Secretary Mustafa Hijri wrote in a tweet on Wednesday morning.
Hijri underscored that the people of Iranian Kurdistan are supportive of Iran, but not the "Islamist regime."
"The people of Kurdistan will support the people of Iran in their pursuit for democracy and freedom from the Islamist regime," Hijri said.