Monday, 11 May 2009

Iran urges Iraq to "pay special attention" to terrorist groups

ISTANBUL - Iran urged neighboring Iraq on Monday to "pay special attention" to terrorist groups operating in its border areas, a week after Baghdad condemned the Iranian bombing of bases of a breakaway faction of the terror organization PKK in northern Iraq.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi was quoted by Reuters as telling a news conference that Iran respected and supported Iraq's territorial integrity.
Iran "expects that Iraqi officials pay special attention to movements of small groups which are officially known as terrorist groups even by Western governments," he said, without naming PEJAK, the PKK's Iranian wing.
Iranian fighter jets and artillery reportedly attacked the bases of PEJAK in northern Iraq in recent weeks, the first time it had used aircraft against the breakaway faction in the neighboring country.
Iraq said last week it had summoned Iran's ambassador to Baghdad and warned of "negative consequences" if such attacks continued.
Iran has neither confirmed nor denied reports its forces had bombed targets inside Iraqi territory.
Reports of the Iranian attacks came after 26 people were killed in a fierce gun battle between Iranian police and PEJAK near the Iraqi border. Eighteen of those killed in the April 24 clash were Iranian policemen and eight were PEJAK members.
Iran sees PEJAK as a terrorist group. The United States, Iran's arch foe, also branded PJAK as a terrorist organization in February.
Turkey and Iran have long been fighting against the terrorist movements operated by both PEJAK and the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community, including the EU and the United States.
"During the government of Saddam, this border was not safe because of the nature of Saddam's government," Qashqavi said Monday.
"Now we expect that this border will become safe ... on both sides," he added.

No comments: