Iranian Kurds in Iraq deny Iran's accusation of role in Isfahan drone attack

Iranian Kurds in Iraq deny Iran's accusation of role in Isfahan drone attack
Iranian Kurdish opposition parties based in the Iraqi Kurdistan region strongly refuted claims made by Iran that they were behind last week's drone attack on an Iranian military site in Isfahan.      
3 min read
01 February, 2023
An Iranian Kurdish Peshmerga member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) inspects damage at the party headquarters following an Iranian cross-border attack in the town of Koye, east of Erbil, on 26 November 2022. [Getty]

Iranian Kurdish opposition parties based in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) denied Iran's accusations that they were "involved" in a drone attack against a defence ministry site in the central province of Isfahan last week.

"Parts of the drones that attacked the workshop complex of the defence ministry in Isfahan, along with explosive materials, were transferred to Iran with the participation and guidance of the Kurdish anti-revolutionary groups based in Iraq's Kurdistan region," claimed Nour News Agency, an outlet considered close to the Islamic republic's Supreme National Security Council. 

Iranian authorities reported an "unsuccessful" drone attack late Saturday that targeted a defence ministry "workshop complex" in Isfahan province, home to the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility.

"This is not the first time that the Islamic Republic of Iran makes such propaganda. Since 1979, it produces poisonous propaganda against the Kurdistan, the legitimate movement of the people of Kurdistan and the Iranian Kurdish parties in Iraq," Raza Kaebi, a leading member of the left-wing Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, told The New Arab.

"Iran tries to say that the Iranian Kurds are affiliated with and supported by other countries to portray that they are doing sabotage inside Iran; especially in the last five months, Iran has focused on Komala. We refute all those baseless accusations by Iran and think the accusations are pretexts for making new attacks by Iran on the political parties of Rojhalat [Eastern Kurdistan] based in the Iraqi Kurdistan region," Kaebi said. 

Komal headquarters are based in Zirguez village near Sulaimaniah city.

In November, Iran launched cross-border missile and drone strikes on the Komala bases in Zirgwez and the bases of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) near Koya town of Erbil province.

At least three persons were killed in the two separate attacks on KDPI bases near Koya.

Iran accused the Kurdish parties of stoking the nationwide protests triggered by the death in custody in September of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini.

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Another official from the KDPI, who wished not to be named, also denied any involvement by the party in the drone attack in Isfahan.

"Through those accusations against the Iranian Kurds, Iran wants to mislead the international community," he said. He further speculated that the attack was related to Iran's involvement in the Russian-Ukraine war, specifically for providing drones to Russia.   

Kaebi said they took precautions against looming Iranian attacks on their bases.  

An anti-aircraft system destroyed one drone and two others exploded, the Iranian defence ministry said, adding that there were no casualties and only minor damage to the site.

The Nour agency said that Kurdish groups brought the drone parts and explosive materials into Iran from "one of the hardly accessible routes in the northwest" upon "the order of a foreign security service" without specifying which country's security service it was accused of being behind the attack.

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It also said the drone parts were delivered to the "service's liaison in a border city".

"The parts and materials have been assembled and used for sabotage in an advanced workshop by trained forces," Nour agency added.

For their part, several Western media outlets have blamed the attack on Iran's arch-foe Israel.

Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region hosts camps and rear bases operated by several Iranian Kurdish rebel groups, which Iran has accused of serving Western or Israeli interests in the past.