TEHRAN (Iran News) – In the latest indication that Iraqi Kurdistan’s regional government has not sufficiently heeded Iran’s earlier warnings over the activism of dissident groups, a senior Iranian general starkly warned the Iraqi Kurdish authorities to rein in the activities of these groups.
Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Ground Forces, warned Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) against allowing terrorist groups to use its territory to pose threats against the security of the Islamic Republic.
Underlining that Iran has repeatedly warned the KRG authorities about the activities of terrorist and militant groups but they did not take action to prevent these activities, the Iranian general said terrorist and anti-revolutionary groups affiliated with foreign intelligence services have been using the KRG territories to disrupt security in Iran’s border regions.
“Terrorist and counterrevolutionary groups affiliated with the global arrogance and foreign espionage services have been using the territory of northern Iraq for many years to undermine security and peace in border areas of the Islamic Republic of Iran and harass the inhabitants of these regions,” the commander of the IRGC’s Ground Force said.
“In this regard, the Iraqi government and the officials of the northern region of Iraq have been given the necessary warnings,” he continued.
He made the remarks on Monday in reaction to recent moves by anti-Iran armed terrorists in the northwestern border areas of the country as he was inspecting military units and border posts in that region.
General Pakpour stressed that the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Region should not allow terrorists to roam and set up headquarters in the KRG to threaten and create insecurity against Iran.
“We consider any negligence and dereliction [of duty] in this regard to be contrary to good neighborliness and good relations between the two countries,” he cautioned.
General Pakpour even threatened to attack the headquarters of the KRG-based anti-revolutionary groups and advised people residing near these groups to stay away.
“Given the situation in the [northern Iraqi] region and the possibility of [giving] a firm and crushing response by the Islamic Republic of Iran to terrorist groups, which are affiliated with the sworn enemies of the [Islamic] Revolution and the Islamic Establishment, and are holed up in the northern Iraqi territory, we request the inhabitants of this region to distance themselves from terrorists’ bases, so that no harm would come to them,” he warned.
Rahmatullah Firouzipour, an Iranian lawmaker, echoed the same warning, saying that Iran will not tolerate that some militant groups enter Iran from border areas.
According to the lawmaker, Iran has repeatedly warned the KRG officials and Baghdad about the movements of terrorist groups based in the region against Iran, so if this practice continues, Iran will take the necessary and serious action.
“What is certain is that Iran, despite its complete independence and non-interference in the security issues of the countries, does not tolerate that some people want to enter the territory and borders of the Islamic Republic and will certainly deal with them,” he told Iranian Diplomacy.
“If those attacks are to take place from inside Iraq, the Iraqi government is responsible and should not allow some people in their territory as an opposition group to try to create problems for the neighboring countries,” Firouzpour said.
The Iranian warnings came nearly a month after Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Admiral Ali Shamkhani demanded that Iraq expel these groups from the KRG so that Iran would not be forced to take “preemptive” measures.
In a meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein in Tehran, Shamkhani told the Iraqi diplomat that “some militant anti-Iran terrorist groups” have holed up in the Kurdistan region and that the Iraqi government should move to expel them. “We ask the Iraqi government to take more serious measures to expel these groups from Iraq’s Kurdistan so that Iran would not be forced to take preemptive action in order to prevent the continuation of the evil of armed terrorists in Iraqi Kurdistan,” Shamkhani told Hussein.
Nearly two weeks ago, the KRG’s Ministry of Interior requested the Kurdish opposition parties from neighboring countries not to use the territory of the Kurdistan region as a base for their operations and to spare the KRG the involvement in regional conflicts. But this request seems to have been insufficient as Iranian media outlets reported that the KRG-based anti-Iran groups have made new movements.
Iraqi Kurdistan Region has been used for a long time by such anti-Iran terror groups as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its offshoot, PJAK, which are active in Iraq and Turkey, to launch occasional attacks against the positions of Iranian border guards and border areas in northwestern parts of the country, Press TV reported, adding that the attacks have been invariably faced with crushing responses from Iran’s border guards and other military units deployed in those areas.