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Tehran complains to Erbil about cross-border ‘terror’ activity

By Rudaw 13/6/2018
PDKI Peshmerga man a position in the Kurdistan Region mountains. Photo: Rudaw
PDKI Peshmerga man a position in the Kurdistan Region mountains. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iran has delivered a formal complaint to the KRG about the movement of “terrorists” across their shared border. 

A delegation from Iran’s consul general in Erbil delivered the message to Siham Mamand, deputy head of the KRG’s Department of Foreign Affairs in a meeting on Wednesday, IRNA reported. 

According to the Iranian media outlet, the diplomatic representatives stressed Iran’s right to defend itself and Mamand expressed the KRG’s desire to strengthen ties with its eastern neighbour. 

Mamand declined to comment to Rudaw on the meeting. 

The Iranian report did not specify which terror groups the consul was concerned about, but the cross-border activities of Iranian Kurdish opposition parties have long been a complication in Erbil’s relations with Tehran.

Iran's Kurdish opposition parties have been based in the Kurdistan Region since 1991 and Tehran has repeatedly blamed the KRG for allowing the parties to cross the border and carry out military operations.

In recent days, Peshmerga of Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) clashed with Iranian Revolutionary Forces in the cities of Oshnavieh and Sarwabad in Iranian Kurdistan.

Earlier this year, after three Revolutionary Guards were killed by KDPI forces in Piranshahr, Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alawi told Tasnim News that they "will soon conduct a harsh response against terrorist and anti-Revolutionary groups."

Kurdish parties have accused Iran of carrying out bombings of their offices and assassinating their members in the Kurdistan Region. Iran has also reportedly shelled positions across the border. 

In its biggest cross-border military operation, some 3,000 Iranian troops attacked PDKI’s camp in Koya on July 29, 1996. A few days later, the PDKI announced it would end its cross-border attacks in a deal reportedly struck with the mediation of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

The PDKI ended its ceasefire in 2015.

Last summer, Iran accused the KRG of violating their border security agreement after several clashes between Kurdish and Iranian forces. 

The KRG has repeatedly stressed its desire to be a good neighbour and to not get involved in the struggles of Kurdish populations outside of its own borders. 

The Iranian consul’s meeting with Mamand comes a day after leaders of two Iranian Kurdish parties visited Washington seeking support.

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