Aug 28, 2023
Iran, Iraq agree to disarm Kurdish militants — Tehran
Iran's foreign ministry says Iraq has agreed to disarm and relocated exiled Iranian Kurdish opposition groups operating in autonomous northern Iraq. It said Iran will take action if Baghdad does not honor the deal.
Tehran said it would take action if Baghdad does not honor its commitment by mid-September.
"According to a deal reached between the Iranian and Iraqi governments, the Iraqi government has pledged to disarm armed terrorist groups in Iraq by September 19," Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanani told a news conference.
"The September 19 deadline will under no circumstances be extended," Kanani said. "After this deadline, if Iraq fails to meet its commitments, the Iranian government will assume its responsibility, in order to ensure the country's security."
Kanani said Baghdad had agreed to "transfer [Kurdish militants] to camps provided by the Iraqi government."
An Iraqi foreign ministry spokesman did not respond to a request for comment, but confirmed Iran wants Kurdish opposition groups in Iraq disarmed and moved to refugee camps.
What are Iran's concerns around Kurdish militants in Iraq?
The autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq hosts camps operated by several Iranian Kurdish factions, which Tehran classifies as "terrorist" groups.
Tehran has also accused Iranian Kurdish militants based in Iraq of fomenting unrest that followed the death in police custody of young Kurdish woman Jina Mahsa Amini.
The Kurds number around 35 million and traditionally inhabit southeastern Turkey, northeastern Syria, northern Iraq and western Iran.
In March, Iran and Iraq signed a deal to protect their border. The following month, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said: "The security of Iraq and its borders is very important to us."
Iran has in past years launched numerous attacks on Kurdish groups which have for decades been exiled in northern Iraq.
In mid-July, Iraq's Interior Ministry announced the deployment of a brigade at the border with Iran in coordination with authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Baghdad has also allocated some $7 million (€6.5 million) for the construction of new border posts, the ministry said at the time.