Iranian Kurds deny Peshmerga withdrawal, say more Kurds fighting regime in Iran

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Iranian Kurdish fighters during routine military exercises in Koya, in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. (AFP)

ARA News 

Iranian Kurdish officials said that the Pershmerga have not withdrawn from Iran’s Kurdish region. According to the officials, the Pershmerga have actually expanded their presence. These statements contradict earlier reports, which had the Peshmerga quitting Iran under pressure from the government of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Kurdistan24, an Erbil-based news station, reported that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) had asked the Kurdish parties in Iran to stop their struggle. Purportedly, the KRG went further, calling on all parties to pull out.

“This is not true,” said Hiwa Bahrami, a representative of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDK-I). “Our Peshmergas will never withdraw! This is a red line for us.”

Kurdish officials said that their fight for the rights of Iranian Kurds will continue and that they have deployed more fighters to Iranian Kurdistan.

Mihammed Salih Qadiri, a member of the PDK-I’s Central Committee, told ARA News that the fight against Iran by the Kurdish Rojhelati Peshmerga, in fact, benefits the KRG. Qadiri reasoned that the fighting decreases the influence of Iran, a regional power opposed to the Kurdish referendum for independence in Iraq.

“[Through our struggle] the influence of Iran will decrease in Iraqi Kurdistan. We believe that the Kurdish struggle in Iran won’t affect the Kurdish independence referendum in Iraq,” he said.

Qadiri added that they don’t need the KRG’s permission to establish bases on the border. “This border was never controlled by Iraq or Iran,” Qadiri told ARA News. “We only [need] an agreement with the Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK] to be there.”

Dozens of former Peshmerga commanders have returned to their camps, intending to join the fight on the Iraqi-Iranian border.

Clashes between the Rojhelati Peshmerga and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRG) erupted on June 15 and continue unabated.

The fighting peaked on September 18 when the IRG tried to expel the Kurdish Peshmerga from the border. The clashes persisted for at least two days.

The PDK-I said in a statement that more than 10 IRG soldiers were killed or injured in the recent clashes. The statement said that one Peshmerga fighter, identified as Rahim Abdullahnejad, also died.

Iran has blamed Saudi Arabia for backing Iranian Kurds in their fight for autonomy. Iranian authorities cited the establishment of a new Saudi consulate in Erbil as evidence of Saudi designs. Kurdish officials have dismissed these statements as propaganda.

“This propaganda is nothing new; in the past, they accused America and Israel of supporting our forces against Iran, but the Iranian authorities have no proof to support this claim,” Qadiri told ARA News.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Source: ARA News

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