0641 GMT March 26, 2019
Tehran protested to the Iraq’s Kurdistan Region over recent infiltration of terrorist groups based in the semi-autonomous region into the country, which decided to commit terrorist acts in Iran.
Iran’s Consulate General in Erbil handed over Tehran’s protest note to Siham Mamand, an official at the region’s Department of Foreign Affairs, IRNA reported.
Delegation of Iranian diplomats led by Deputy Consul General Siamak Borhani emphasized the Iranian Armed Forces’ right to legitimate defense and confronting the epicenter of terror.
Expressing disappointment over the recent events, Mamand stressed that the Iraqi Kurdistan will surely not let its “positive and constructive” relations with Iran be affected by such moves.
Mamand added that the region has a “strong will” to develop and reinforce its ties with Iran, and that it would not endanger its interests for the sake of any group or party.
Over the weekend, Iranian security forces dismantled three terror groups seeking to infiltrate into the country in separate operations, killing several of them in the Oshnavieh and Sarvabad border areas in the province of Kurdestan.
During the security operations, a considerable amount of explosives, weapons, and equipment was confiscated.
Turkey’s operations in Iraq
In the neighboring Turkey, the country has launched new operations against Kurdish militants based in Iraq.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday Ankara is in contact with Iran about conducting a possible military operation against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in the northern Iraq region of Qandil, close to the Iranian border, Hurriyet Daily reported.
“We are in contact with Iran,” Cavusoglu told broadcaster Haberturk. “PKK is a threat to them as well. Qandil is very close to the Iran border...We will improve cooperation with Iran.”
Turkey recently launched military operations to eliminate the PKK in northern Iraq, targeting its headquarters in the Qandil Mountain region and in the Sinjar Province of the country, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on June 11.
Ankara’s preparations for a large-scale operation against the PKK presence in the northern Iraq began in early March.
Turkey now has 11 bases in northern Iraq in a bid to effectively and sustainably fight against the PKK, which for decades has enjoyed a relative security vacuum in the region.
Cavusoglu also said Turkey was in talks with the United States, the central Iraqi government in Baghdad, and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Arbil for a four-way coordination to finally put an end to the presence of the PKK in northern Iraq.
Turkey has also completed more than half of a 144 km (90 mile) wall on its border with Iran to prevent infiltration by Kurdish militants and smuggling, a move that was welcomed by Iran.