Iran calls on Kurdish PJAK rebels to lay
down arms or leave
TEHRAN, — Iran's elite Revolutionary
Guards have warned members of an Iraq-based Kurdish
separatist group they will be fought "to the end"
unless they lay down their arms or leave, local
media reported Wednesday.
"Our message is that Islamic Republic of Iran will
not tolerate any armed terrorist group which is the
product of Americans. They will be confronted
decisively till the end," the deputy commander of
the force, Brigadier General Hossein Salami said,
referring to the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK).
"The groups in the area should lay down their
weapons and seek Islamic Republic of Iran compassion
or get far enough from our borders, if not then we
warn them that they should await our continuation of
decisive attacks," he added.
Deputy Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards
Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Hussein Salami. Photo
In July, Iran launched a major
offensive against PJAK rebels, shelling districts
near Iraq's Kurdistan border for weeks, but halted
it during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to give
the rebels a chance to withdraw from border areas.
PJAK announced a unilateral ceasefire on September 4.
Authorities of the Islamic Republic have not staged
any attacks on the group, however, the cross border
shelling have continued.
The Iranian bombardment of Iraqi Kurdistan’s border
areas had continued since more than 2 months,www.ekurd.netkilling and injuring many civilians and causing
damage for dozens of houses and agricultural fields.
Human Rights Watch said on September 2, that it had
evidence that Iran may have
deliberately targeted civilians in its offenisve
against the rebels.
Kurdish local officials and an NGO in early August
reported that more than 200 Iraqi Kurdish families
had been forced from their homes by weeks of Iranian
shelling of separatist rebel bases in northern Iraq.
The Guards resumed the offensive on September 2,
pledging to "continue until all
counter-revolutionaries, rebels and terrorists have
been cleared away."
Iranian media also quoted the commander of the
Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, as saying that
the presence of PJAK "prompted our ground forces to
go ahead with precise and pre-emptive plans against
this threat and it is continuing."
The two Guards' commanders in their comments made no
reference to a call for a truce on September 5 by
PJAK. The separatists urged Iran to reciprocate in
order to prevent further bloodshed.
Tehran responded a day later, saying Iraq's
Kurdistan autonomous government, which is acting as
a mediator, must clarify the details of the proposed
2004 the PJAK took up arms for self-rule in Kurdistan province northwestern of
Iran (Iranian Kurdistan, Eastern Kurdistan). Half the members of PJAK
are women. The PJAK has over 5,000 armed
Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey all have significant
ethnic Kurdish minorities. Estimate to over 12 million
Kurds live in Iran.
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