Al-Monitor – An Iranian commander threatened Iranian Kurdish dissident groups that operate in Iraq on Monday as the conflict between the two heats up.
Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC alleged that the unspecified groups are in cahoots with foreign intelligence and seek to destabilize Iran from neighboring Iraq.
“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,” said Pakpour, as reported by the semi-official Press TV.
Pakpour’s comments refer to Iranian Kurdish opposition parties and their armed wings that operate in the autonomous Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq. Pakpour did not mention anyone by name, but the Press TV report referenced the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), which is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party in Turkey, aka PKK.
The commander put the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Iraqi federal government on notice, saying, “We consider any negligence in this regard to be contrary to good neighborly ties and good relations between the two countries.” He also pledged a “necessary response” if the “terrorists” continue to threaten Iraq.
Iran has been in an on-and-off conflict with Kurdish Iranian groups within Iran and across the border in Iraq for years. The fighting has intensified recently. On Monday, an official from the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (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.
Monday’s comments were not new from Pakpour. Last week he said the “current situation is no longer tolerable” in reference to the cross-border conflict.