Tehran once again fired missiles and drone attacks in northern Iraq on Tuesday (November 22), targeting the Iranian Kurdish opposition two days after similar bombardments against these groups accused of fomenting unrest in Islamic Republic.
The Iranian power notably accuses these movements, which have long been in its sights, of encouraging the demonstrations which have shaken Iran since the death, on September 16, of the young Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini, after her arrest by the police of the manners. Already on Sunday evening, missile fire and suicide drone attacks carried out by the Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s ideological army, targeted the bases of several Iranian opposition factions, killing one person.
On Tuesday, the ground forces of the Revolutionary Guards launched “a new series of attacks” in Iraqi Kurdistan, according to the Iranian press agency Tasnim which evokes firing of missiles and attacks of drones programmed to fall on a target.
The headquarters and locations of the « separatist group PAK [Parti de la liberté du Kurdistan]which had provided support for the recent riots in the northwest of the country, were targeted and destroyed with precision missiles”said General Mohammad Pakpour, head of the Guardians’ ground forces, according to the institution’s website. The attacks against these opposition factions in northern Iraq “will continue until the threat is removed and they are disarmed”he added.
The PAK was targeted in the vicinity of Altun Kupri. “We had taken our precautions and emptied the premises, there were no human losses”, Khalil Nadri, a spokesperson for the faction, told Agence France-Presse. The surroundings of Altun Kupri are under the control of the peshmergas, the military forces of Iraqi Kurdistan, but this region constitutes one of the areas disputed with the federal power of Baghdad.
Established in Iraq since the 1980s, the Iranian Kurdish movements – such as the Democratic Party of Kurdistan of Iran (PDKI) or the nationalist group Komala – are qualified as “terrorists” by Iran, which accuses them of launching attacks on its territory. However, after waging an armed insurgency for a long time, these groups – often politically very left-wing – have virtually ceased their military activities, according to experts. Maintaining their political activism, they denounce the discrimination suffered by the Kurdish minority in Iran (about 10 million out of a population of 83 million), in particular the ban on teaching Kurdish in schools. But these groups still have fighters in fatigues in northern Iraq, resembling “reservists” who train in the use of weapons.
“Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran targeted Iranian opposition groups in two areas with rockets”clarified on Twitter Lawk Ghafuri, a spokesman for the autonomous government of Kurdistan, citing the city of Perdi (Kurdish name of Altun Kupri) and the region of Degala, east of Erbil, the regional capital of Kurdistan. In the past, senior Iranian officials had called on the authorities in Baghdad and those in Kurdistan to put an end to the activities of this opposition, accusing them of infiltrating Iran and attacking Iranian forces.
In Tehran on Monday, Foreign Affairs Spokesman Nasser Kanani said his country wanted “Iraqi territory is not used to threaten the security of Iran”. “We insisted with the Iraqi authorities and the Kurdistan region that this region should not be a transit point for equipment and weapons to be used in disturbances”he hammered.
On November 14, similar Iranian bombings left one dead and eight injured in Iraqi Kurdistan. Deadly attacks also took place on September 28. The Iranian bombardment comes as Turkey launched Operation Sword Claw on Sunday, a series of airstrikes against Kurdish positions in northern Iraq and Syria.