Iranian General Mohammad Bagheri, chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces. (MIZAN)

September 22, 2021

The Iraqi Army Chief of Staff expressed surprise at statements made by the Iranian Chief of Staff, Major General Muhammad Hossein Bagheri, regarding hostile movements from Iraq towards his country.

Tehran has for years been bombing and chasing a group of Iranian Kurdish parties in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, including the Free Life party known as PJAK, which is active on the border strip between Iraq and Iran in the Sulaymaniyah Governorate. Tehran justifies attacking Iraqi territory by claiming that it is chasing opposition groups.

In a statement, the Iraqi Chief of Staff said that the bilateral relations “that bind us with the neighboring Republic of Iran are close ties based on cooperation and good neighborliness, and they have witnessed a remarkable development recently at all levels, especially in the security and military aspects.”

The statement added: “We express our surprise at the unjustified statements recently attributed to the Chief of the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Muhammad Hoossein Bagheri, regarding the presence of hostile movements from Iraqi territory towards the Iranian Republic.”

The statement stressed that Iraq “strongly rejects the use of its territory for aggression against its neighbors, and adheres to good neighborliness and brotherly relations with neighboring countries.”

It also underlined “the need for all sides to commit to the language of brotherhood and cooperation in joint relations.”

Earlier, Iranian media quoted Major General Bagheri as saying that anti-Iranian terrorist groups are “active in the Kurdistan region of Iraq because of the regional authorities’ disregard, and the weakness of the central Iraqi government due to the US military presence.”

He added: “These groups, after years of failure and retreat, have been active over the past year at the instigation of America, Israel and some Arab countries in the region, and they began their attempts to expand their terrorist operations. Although they have not yet been able to achieve what they want, they are working to disrupt security in some border areas, and Iran will not allow this to happen.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.