A bilateral agreement to dismantle bases of Iranian Kurdish armed groups stationed in northern Iraq by mid-September was announced by both Iranian and Iraqi officials on Monday.
After announcing the deal, the Kurdistan Regional Government summoned representatives of the Kurdish groups, the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan and the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), to Erbil (Hewler) and told them of the growing pressure coming from Tehran, urging them to move their fighters to designated camps and disarm.
Iran has been launching attacks targeting members of the PDKI and other Iranian Kurdish opposition groups located in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region near the Iran-Iraq border.
According to a source at the Erbil meeting quoted by the Citadel, the opposition groups showed a general willingness to move to the newly established camps. However, there was strong opposition to the demand that they hand over their weapons.
In an official press release on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kenani announced that Iran and Iraq had reached an agreement on the dismantling of Iranian Kurdish forces and the evacuation of their military installations in the Kurdistan region. Kenani explained that the deadline for the disarmament of these forces had been set for 19 September, asserting: ”This deadline will not be subject to any extension. The Kurdistan Region and Baghdad are expected to implement this agreement promptly”.
Coinciding with this announcement, Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri issued a stern ultimatum to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. Bagheri warned that if Iraq failed to disarm groups perceived as hostile to Iran by 18 September, Iran would escalate its military operations against these Kurdish armed groups based in the Kurdistan Region.
In response, Iraqi government spokesman Basim Alawadi took to social media to express his country’s commitment to ensuring border security in accordance with the bilateral agreement with Iran. Alawadi’s statement revealed that in addition to disarming militant groups and eliminating their bases, the agreement includes the extradition of wanted suspects to Iran.
This development comes on the heels of a timeline of escalating events, marked by the nationwide protests in Iran, followed by lethal attacks conducted by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Iranian-Kurdish bases in northern Iraq. These attacks, which occurred between September and October, led to multiple casualties and injuries. Subsequent months witnessed further attacks, ballistic missile launches, and diplomatic efforts between Iraq, Iran and Kurdistan Region.