Iraq: Kurdish militants go on patrol amid uptick in fighting against Iranian forces

Violence has increased on the Iranian side of the border with Iraq in recent weeks as Iranian troops and Kurdish fighters battle each other across the mountainous terrain. Siamand Moini, co-chair of the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), a militant opposition Kurdish group, spoke about the situation with Ruptly in an area north of Sulaymaniyah, on the Iraqi side of the Iranian border. The PJAK... Еще has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in Iran since 2004. Speaking on Thursday, Moini warned that if the rights of Kurds living in Iran are not respected, and if they are not offered dialogue, «armed mobility is our choice.» «We are self-restrained and never initiate an attack. We want a peaceful solution,» he stressed. He explained that Kurdish fighters have armed themselves in order to «protect our goals and achieve freedom and democracy in our country, Iran.» Ruptly requested a comment from the Iranian government concerning the spike in violence; however, no reply has so far been received. Recent clashes in western Iran include a deadly attack on an Iranian military base earlier this month. Kurdish forces carried out the assault on the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) base in the Marivan area. A total of 11 guards were killed in the fighting, according to reports that cite Iranian officials. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the PJAK, who say it was carried out in retaliation for the killing of Kurdish fighters. «The story of the killing of the Revolutionary Guard soldiers began with this, that our forces are located deep in Iran and the Revolutionary Guard set up an ambush in that particular area, and what happened was no more than a reaction by our forces there,» said Moini. He claimed that this had unfolded at a Kurdish base located «deep in Iran, where the centres of our presence and areas of our movements between Iraq and Iran [are located].» «The entry of the guards forces there is a violation for us,» he said. Armed Kurdish militants were seen patrolling across the rocky border terrain on Thursday. One Kurdish fighter, Arawan Mohammadi, explained what he described as the Iranian Kurds' vision for Kurdish self-government. «In these difficult times we will continue, and demand the international community [help us to] to achieve our dream in Kurdistan,» he stated. «The establishment of the region guarantees the Kurds a decent life and ends the hostility between the Iranian government and the Kurds,» he added. See related coverage by Ruptly:

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