HomeMiddle EastIraq and Iran sign agreement to strengthen border security

Iraq and Iran sign agreement to strengthen border security

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

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

The joint security agreement on Sunday includes coordination to “protect the common borders between the two countries and consolidate cooperation in various security fields,” said a statement from the Iraqi prime minister’s office.

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 Mohammed al-Sudani, the prime minister’s office said.

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

Shamkhani denounced “ruthless activities of counter-revolutionary elements” in northern Iraq, a reference to Kurdish groups operating in the country, according to the Iranian state news agency IRNA.

He said the deal signed on Sunday “can completely and fundamentally end the vicious actions of these groups,” which the Iranian government labels “terrorists.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani (far right) meets with Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani in Baghdad, Iraq (Iraqi Prime Minister’s Press Office/Handout via Reuters )

Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region is home to rear camps and bases operated by various Iranian Kurdish factions, which Iran has accused of serving Western or Israeli interests in the past.

The border took on a new focus last year when Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched missile and drone strikes against Iranian Kurdish groups based in northern Iraq, accusing them of fomenting protests sparked by the death of an Iranian Kurdish woman while in police custody.

After the Iranian attacks, Iraq announced in November that it would redeploy federal guards on the border between Kurdish Iraq and Iran, rather than leaving responsibility to Kurdish peshmerga forces, a move Tehran welcomed.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, speaking in Tehran, said that “Shamkhani’s current trip to Iraq has been planned for four months and focuses 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 in the past waged an armed insurrection against Tehran, but in recent years their activities have waned and experts said they had halted almost all military activity.

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

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

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