Iran's Revolutionary Guards Fire On Headquarters Of Opposition Groups Inside Northern Iraq
By RFE/RL's Radio Farda November 21, 2022
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has fired on the headquarters of Iranian Kurdish opposition groups based in northern Iraq, the latest in a series of attacks as Tehran accuses them of fomenting a wave of unrest inside the Islamic republic.
At least one person was reported killed in the attack late on November 20 that hit buildings of Kurdish parties opposed to Iran, including the headquarters of Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan and the residence of the leaders of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan.
A senior official of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan said Mohammed Nazif Qaderi, a member of the Kurdish Iranian group exiled in Iraq, was killed in the IRGC strike, while the Jengikan and Gardehchal camps near Irbil International Airport were the targets of the most-intense drone and missile attacks. Members of the group asserted that the strikes also had hit a hospital in Koya.
The attacks in northern Iraq come amid a deadly crackdown in Iranian Kurdish cities in recent days over the spread of protests connected to the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian Kurdish woman who died in police custody in September for "improperly" wearing a head scarf. Weeks of demonstrations have become some of the biggest and most sustained since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani told reporters that Tehran had acted to "protect its borders and the security of its citizens based on its legal rights."
He alleged that the government in Baghdad and the Irbil-based administration of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region had failed to implement purported commitments to prevent threats against Iran from Iraqi areas.
The IRGC issued a statement in September saying such attack operations would continue as long as the bases of "terrorist groups" were not removed and as long as regional authorities "do not act according to their commitments."
The IRGC has accused Iraq-based Kurdish groups of "attacking and infiltrating Iran to sow insecurity and riots and spread unrest" amid protests that erupted over Amini's death.
The 22-year-old died on September 16, three days after being detained in Tehran by the morality police for allegedly breaching Iran's strict rules on head scarves.
The protests started in Amini's hometown of Saghez in Iran's Kurdistan region and spread to dozens of cities and towns across Iran. Tehran has claimed, without providing evidence, that Kurdish groups in northern Iraq have been supporting the demonstrations.
The wave of protests and the government crackdown that followed have left scores of demonstrators dead and seen thousands detained.
Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda
Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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