Iran: No extension to deadline for removing Kurdish groups from border areas in Iraq
Iran's Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani said that Tehran will not extend the ultimatum given to Baghdad to disarm Kurdish opposition groups and move them away from their bases along the Iranian border, Press TV reported.
Ashtiani said: "We do not have any extension [to the deadline]. We will act in due time in accordance with the agreement made [with Iraq]."
In the agreement signed by the two countries in March, September 19 was set as the deadline for Iraq to complete disarming of Iranian-Kurdish groups who have been involved in armed struggle against Iranian military.
Tehran has long accused the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of harboring opposition groups it considers "terrorists" and allowing them to use the border areas as a launchpad for attacks against Iran.
Noting that the Iraqi government has taken some steps for the implementation of the agreement, Ashtiani said Iran will conduct a last-minute assessment of the situation before making the final decision.
The minister's remarks came as Iran's Nour News reported on Sunday that despite the measures taken by Baghdad, "some clauses of agreement have not been fully implemented and need follow-up."
Iraq's national security advisor Qasim al-Araji arrived in Erbil on Monday, a day before the deadline, to look over the implementation of the agreement, Rudaw said citing Iraqi state media.
A member of the Iraqi parliament's security and defense committee said on Monday that Iraq has requested an extension of the deadline.
"The Iraqi government has requested the deadline to be extended to fully implement the agreement regarding tightening the borders and removing Iranian opposition forces to tighten the borders," Waad Qado told Rudaw.
Iranian-Kurdish opposition groups based in the Iraqi Kurdistan -namely the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), Komala, Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK), and the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK)- have been accused by Tehran of fueling the nationwide protest movement in Iran last September and inciting unrest in the country.
In July, Iran threatened to use military action if Baghdad fails to meet the September 19 deadline.
Photo: Iran's Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani (Shafaq News)