Iraq relocating Iranian Kurdish fighters from Iran border, foreign minister says
PHOTO CAPTION: Representational photo — A Peshmerga soldier participates in a live-fire exercise under the supervision and instruction of soldiers from the Netherlands, in Iraq, March 27, 2016. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jessica Hurst via U.S. Defense Visual Information Distribution Service)
By Ahmed Rasheed
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq has started relocating Iranian Kurdish groups from Iraq's Kurdish region frontiers with Iran to camps far from the border as part of a security agreement between Baghdad and Tehran, Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said on Tuesday.
Iraq and Iran signed a border security agreement in March, a move Iraqi officials said was aimed primarily at tightening the frontier with Iraq's Kurdish region, where Tehran says armed Kurdish dissidents pose a threat to its security.
"Based on the agreement between Iraq and Iran, necessary measures were taken to remove these groups from the border areas and they were housed in camps deep inside Iraqi Kurdistan," Hussein told a press conference on Tuesday.
Hussein said he would visit Tehran on Wednesday to deliver the message in person in the hopes that it would prevent any escalation on the border.
Iran has long accused Iraq's autonomous northern Kurdish region of sheltering militant groups involved in attacks against the Islamic Republic, with Iran's Revolutionary Guards in turn repeatedly targeting their bases.
The Iranian foreign ministry said last month that under the agreement struck with Iraq, Baghdad committed to disarm Iranian Kurdish opposition groups in Iraq's Kurdistan region, close their bases, and relocate them to other locations before September 19.
Iranian officials have said that, if the deadline was missed, they could resume attacks against dissident groups inside Iraqi Kurdistan that Tehran had regularly undertaken until the end of last year.
In September 2022, the Revolutionary Guards fired missiles and drones at militant targets at Iraq's Kurdish region, killing 13 people, according to local authorities.
"We will discuss with the Iranian side not to threaten to use violence and not to threaten to attack some areas in the Kurdistan region of Iraq," Hussein said.
(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; editing by Timour Azhari and Angus MacSwan)