Iran responds to Iraqi troop redeployment with arrival of armored units on the border

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Archive – Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Exercises – -/IRGC/dpa

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has deployed armored units and infantry to the border with Iraqi Kurdistan after reporting «suspicious movements» by «Kurdish opposition» groups, less than 24 hours after Baghdad announced its own military movements in response to attacks by Tehran and Ankara on positions of these groups in the semi-autonomous region.

Iran has for weeks launched a series of cross-border missile and drone strikes on Kurdish-Iranian opposition groups based in Iraq, blaming them for stoking protests at home over the death in custody of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, allegedly for wearing the traditional Islamic headscarf incorrectly.

The commander of the Revolutionary Guard ground forces, General Mohamad Pakpur, has confirmed this deployment to «deal with insecurity through these reinforcements in the border area of the country’s western and northwestern provinces,» he said in comments carried by the semi-official Iranian news agency Tasnim.

The Kurdistan Freedom Party, one of the groups concerned, has confirmed that Iran has already deployed tanks, armored vehicles, artillery and drones on Iran’s borders with the Kurdistan Region in recent days, and has also increased its forces in the Kurdish-Iranian cities of Baneh, Marivan and Piranshahr, its spokesman, Jalil Nadiri, told the Kurdish news agency Rudaw.

Iran has justified these operations before the UN on the grounds that the country «has no choice but to use its natural right to defend itself within the framework of international law to protect its national security», as it explained in a letter to the international institution on Thursday.

On the other hand, the Iraqi government announced on Thursday its decision to redeploy troops to the borders with Iran and Turkey after denouncing the recent bombings as a threat to its sovereignty.

The Iraqi National Security Council held on Wednesday a meeting headed by the Prime Minister, Mohamed Shia al Sudani, to address «the Turkish and Iranian violations and attacks against the Iraqi borders», as confirmed by the spokesman of the Army General Staff, Yahya Rasul, with the intention of «developing a plan to redeploy the border forces to hold the line on the borders with Iran and Turkey» and «to guarantee all logistical support to the Border Forces».