Iranian Chief of Staff, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, yesterday called on Iraq to hand over Kurdish dissidents in the Kurdistan region, threatening renewed air strikes on the region if they are not expelled.
The Kurdish militants “had promised not to carry out operations in Iran but they have broken their promise since last year, provoked by the US and the regional states, and carried out operations which could not be tolerated and they were notified several times,” the Iranian semi-official news agency Fars quoted Bagheri as saying.
“I say now too that the Iraqi government and the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government should not allow the creation of strongholds to foment insecurity and they should extradite them to Iran,” he added.
He went on to threaten that if Baghdad and Erbil are not able to extradite them, they should expel them from Iraq, otherwise Iran will “defend itself”.
Iran had targeted “a meeting of terrorists and their commanders in Iraqi Kurdistan region with missile strikes” on Saturday, the Iranian chief of staff said, according to Fars, adding that his country is capable of launching more strikes if it has to.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry condemned the strike considering it a “violation of Iraqi sovereignty,” stressing that it rejects the bombing of any target in its territory “without prior coordination with the Iraqi authorities”.
The Foreign Ministry added in a statement that Iraq is keen to maintain the security of neighbouring states, asserting that its rejects the use Iraqi territory to threaten other countries’ security.