September 15, 2021
An Iranian security official pressed Iraq’s head of government on Sunday to expel Kurdish Iranian dissident groups.
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Baghdad. Shamkhani asked Kadhimi to disarm and expel unspecified “terrorist groups” from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. He said such groups are increasing their movements and threaten both states, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
Shamkhani’s comments refer to Kurdish Iranian opposition parties and their armed wings that operate in the autonomous Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq. These include the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), which is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party in Turkey, aka PKK, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDP-I).
Iran has been in an on-and-off conflict with Kurdish Iranian groups within Iran and across the border in Iraq for years, including KDP-I and PJAK. The fighting has intensified recently. On Monday, an official from the KDP-I told the Iraqi Kurdish news outlet Rudaw that the group’s peshmerga forces had downed four of the 16 drones used by Iran to attack them in the Kurdistan Region recently. On Saturday, the party’s forces released a statement saying IRGC aerial attacks had been occurring for three days straight near Bradost mountain.
In August, a senior KDP-I official was found dead in a hotel in the Kurdistan Region capital, Erbil.
The IRGC also said it dismantled an unspecified terrorist cell in Iran’s Kurdistan province earlier this month.
Sunday’s comments were not unprecedented. Last week an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander said the “current situation is no longer tolerable” in reference to the cross-border conflict with Kurdish Iranian groups.