Iraq and Iran signed an agreement to tighten border security | Politics News

Iraqi officials say the move is aimed at tightening the border with Iraq’s Kurdish region, where Tehran says armed Kurdish dissidents pose a security threat.

Iraq and Iran have signed a border security agreement, a move Iraqi officials say is primarily aimed at tightening the border with Iraq’s Kurdish region, where Tehran says Kurdish armed groups pose a security threat.

Sunday’s joint security agreement includes coordination in “protecting common borders between the two countries and consolidating cooperation in several security areas,” the Iraqi prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani signed the agreement with Iraq’s National Security Adviser Qasim al-Araji in the presence of Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad al-Sudani, the Prime Minister’s Office announced.

“According to the security agreement signed, Iraq promises that it will not allow armed groups to use its territory in the Iraqi Kurdish region to launch any border attacks against neighboring Iran,” said an Iraqi security official who attended the the signing, according to Reuters news agency.

Shamkhani condemned the “nefarious activities of counter-revolutionary elements” in northern Iraq, referring to Kurdish groups operating in the country, according to Iran’s state news agency IRNA.

He said the agreement signed on Sunday “can completely and fundamentally put an end to the vicious actions of these groups” that the Iranian government designates as “terrorists”.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani meets with Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani in Baghdad, Iraq, March 19, 2023. Iraqi Prime Minister's Media Office/Handout via REUTERS EDITOR'S ATTENTION - THIS IMAGE PROVIDED BY THIRD PARTY.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani (far right) meets with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani in Baghdad, Iraq [Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office/Handout via Reuters]

Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region hosts camps and rear bases run by several Iranian Kurdish factions, which Iran accuses of serving Western or Israeli interests in the past.

The border came under the spotlight again last year when Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched rocket and drone attacks against Iranian Kurdish groups based in northern Iraq, accusing them of fomenting protests sparked by the death of an Iranian Kurdish woman while she was being held in police custody. arrest.

After the Iranian strikes, Iraq announced in November that it would redeploy federal guards to the border between Kurdish Iraq and Iran, rather than leave responsibility to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces – a move welcomed by Tehran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, speaking in Tehran, said Shamkhani’s “current trip to Iraq is planned for four months and is focused on issues related to armed groups in northern Iraq.”

Iran will in no way accept threats from Iraqi territories, he said.

Factions based in Iraq’s mountainous north have waged an armed insurgency against Tehran in the past, but their activity has declined in recent years and experts said they have almost ceased hostilities.

Iran has also accused Kurdish fighters of working with its arch-enemy Israel and has often raised concerns about the alleged presence of Israel’s Mossad spy agency in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.

Last year, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said a sabotage team detained by its security forces were Kurdish fighters working for Israel who planned to blow up a “sensitive” defense industry center in the city of Isfahan.

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