Iran has said the deadline for Iraq to disarm “terror groups” in the Kurdistan region will expire on September 19.
Deputy Operational Commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Abbas Nilforoushan told Tasnim news agency that his forces would return to their previous positions if the Kurdish opposition parties based in the Iraqi Kurdistan region were not disarmed.
“We have to protect the interests of the Iranian people,” Nilforoushan said.
He asserted Tehran’s commitment to the agreement concluded with Baghdad last March, saying the other party is expected to act accordingly.
Earlier, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanaani, said that Tehran had obtained an Iraqi commitment to disarm the Kurdish opposition parties within a deadline that expires on September 22.
Kanaani pointed out that Iran will work according to its responsibilities within the framework of the country’s security if the commitment is not made.
Kurdish sources had told Asharq Al-Awsat that nothing has so far changed, and no party has been disarmed.
The sources said the only change made so far is that armed groups no longer display their weapons publicly.
On July 11, Iranian Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri said that his country would resume attacks on the Iraqi Kurdistan region if Baghdad did not fulfill its obligations regarding armed groups.
He gave the Iraqi government until September to disarm the Iranian Kurdish parties opposed to Tehran.
In September last year, the IRGC attacked with more than 70 surface-to-air missiles and dozens of booby-trapped drones, targeting several locations in Iraqi Kurdistan, including the headquarters of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan.
At the time, observers said the attack was an attempt to divert attention from the protests that raged in the country after the death of the Kurdish young woman, Mahsa Amini, in police custody.
Iran blamed Western countries for being behind the protests and accused the Kurdish opposition parties of expanding them to Kurdish cities in western Iran.
Source : Asharaq Al-Awsat