3 Iranian Kurds killed in Iraqi Kurdistan, opposition parties and rights groups point to IRGC
In the last ten days, three Iranian Kurdish opposition party members were killed in the Iraqi Kurdistan region, with activists and opposition groups accusing Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) behind the killings.
Recently, Iran has been targeting members and bases of various Iranian Kurdish opposition parties based in the Iraqi Kurdistan region, justifying the pretext that these parties were launching attacks against Iran's armed forces from Iraqi territories and fuelling protests inside Iran.
Two members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) were killed at the Halsho resort of Sulaimaniyah province on 7 July.
Adel Muhajir, also known as Sarbaz, and Luqman Aji were visiting a Halsho resort in Qaladze town when they were killed by gunmen affiliated with IRGC, the party said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Siyamand Shaboyi, 35, was found dead near Erbil's Bahrka area, Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, which monitors human rights in Iranian Kurdistan, reported. He was a former Peshmerga of the KDPI, originally from Oshnaviyeh.
According to Hengaw, a bullet wound in the back of his skull was seen, and Iran's intelligence previously threatened the victim.
Hemgaw also reported threats by Iran's intelligence against their staff based in the Kurdistan region, urging Kurdish security authorities in the Kurdistan region to "ensure the safety and well-being of Hengaw members."
The legal office of #Hengaw expresses profound concerns regarding the personal #safety of its staff operating in the #Kurdistan region of Iraq. We urge security authorities of the region to give serious consideration to ensuring the safety and well-being of Hengaw members.— Hengaw Organization for Human Rights (@Hengaw_English) July 13, 2023
Hassan Qadr Zadeh, a member of KDPI's central command, told The New Arab in a phone call that they hold the Islamic regime of Iran responsible for killing their members. He asked the relevant authorities in the Kurdistan region to investigate the killings.
Mohammad Bagheri, Chief of Staff for IRGS, on Tuesday, warned in a tweet that if the Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) fail to disarm opposition parties of Iranian Kurds in Iraq by next month, the IRGC will launch military actions against them.
A border security agreement was signed between Iran and Iraq in March and primarily aimed at tightening the frontier with Iraq's Kurdish region, where Iranian Kurdish opposition parties have set up bases.
Under the signed security deal, Iraq pledges it would not allow armed groups to use its territory in the Iraqi Kurdish region to launch any border-crossing attacks neighbouring Iran.
Iran accuses the Iranian Kurdish parties of "affiliating" with Israel; Iran often voices concern over the alleged presence of the Israeli spy agency Mossad in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.
The Islamic regime also accused Kurdish parties of stoking the nationwide protests triggered by the death in custody in September of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini.
Kurdish groups, in turn, strongly deny these accusations, saying that their activities are mainly "peaceful".
Qadr Zadeh ruled out the scenario of Iran launching cross-border military operations inside the Iraqi territories to disarm the Kurdish parties, indicating that taking such an option would be "risky" for Iran and might lead an international interference in the issue.
He said the party neither has a truce with Iran nor is ready to lay down its arms. Yet, he noted, as per calls by the authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan, the organisation has ceased conducting any operations from Iraqi territories against Iranian forces. He reiterated that they have "the legitimate right of self-defence" if attacked by Iran.
تا شهریورماه که زمان تعهد دولت عراق است، صبر میکنیم و امیدواریم که دولت عراق به مسئولیتش عمل کند. اما اگر این زمان بگذرد و این گروهکهای تجزیه طلب، مسلح باقی بمانند و یا عملیاتی انجام دهند، قطعاً عملیاتهای ما علیه این گروهها با #شدت_بیشتر تکرار خواهد شد.— محمد باقری (@baghery_ir) July 11, 2023
He affirmed that Iran is expected to resume missile and drone attacks on their headquarters as it did in the past.
A close source from the Iraqi ruling elites told TNA in May that Tehran wants Iranian Kurds to be entirely expelled from Iraq and sent to a third country, similar to the case of People's Mujahedin of Iran, also known as MEK (Mujahedin-e Khalq), which is an Iranian political-militant organisation opposing Iran's Islamic regime.
"Until now, no third country has expressed its readiness to accept the Iranian Kurds. Suppose the Iraqi government and the KRG decide to expel them from Ira. In that case,n Iran, Kurds will have no options other than accepting the offer or returning to Iran, where they face legal prosecution," the source noted.
More than 3,000 MEK members from Iraq were relocated to Albania between 2013 and 2016.
The KDPI is an Iranian Kurdish opposition party that has waged an armed rebellion against the Iranian government since the 1979 Islamic revolution. It was founded in Iranian Kurdistan in 1946the by late Kurdish leader Qazi Muhammad, the founder of the first modern Kurdish state of Mahabad.
Kurds, a non-Arab ethnic group, have long agitated for their state. They number between 25 million and 35 million people and are spread across Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. In Iran, they make up around 10 per cent of the population.