Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has reasserted Tehran’s position that it cannot tolerate the presence of Kurdish separatists on its border with Iraq, PressTV has reported.
Raisi made his comment yesterday during a meeting with Iraq’s Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, who was visiting Iran. The day before, Hussein had announced that Iraq had started to relocate Iranian-Kurdish militants away from the border, “based on the framework border security agreement” signed with Iran in March.
“We expect from the Iranian side that they do not turn to violence against Kurdistan or against the sovereignty of Iraq,” he said.
— IRNA News Agency (@IrnaEnglish) September 13, 2023
The move comes days ahead of the 19 September deadline set by Iran for the militants to be moved, failing which it threatened to resume targeted strikes against Kurdish separatist positions in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).
Both sides appear to be taking the deadline seriously, as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Ground Force has started deploying artillery and armoured vehicles to the north-west border. Last year, the IRGC launched several rounds of missile strikes against the KRI.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani stressed on Monday that there will be no extension of the deadline for the disarmament of Kurdish separatists: “Iran’s stance is quite clear. According to the agreement reached with the Iraqi government, the final deadline for the disarmament of the terrorist and separatist forces in Iraq’s Kurdistan region ends on 19 September and that deadline will not be extended in any way.”
During the meeting between Raisi and Hussein, the Iranian president is reported to have reminded Baghdad to honour its security commitments towards Tehran. “During the days that Iraq was besieged by the Daesh terrorist group,” said Raisi, “the Islamic Republic did not withhold any assistance from Iraq, proving itself to be Iraq’s friend during its [the Arab country’s] tough days.”