The crisis in western Iran is intensifying. As Sanandaj and other cities burn, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) last weekend issued a curious statement threatening a military incursion into Kurdish northern Iraq.
The statement read: “In case of inability of some neighbors in expelling elements of separatist terrorists and hypocrites stationed in the border areas… the armored and special forces units of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s armed forces are ready to be deployed to free this region of these evils forever.”
A report at Voice of America on October 4, meanwhile, quoted a senior Kurdish Region of Iraq official who noted a buildup of Iranian forces on the border, and said that the Iranian regime had sent a message to the KRI confirming that Iran may launch a ground operation into northern Iraq, if Iranian Kurdish forces do not withdraw from the border area. In response, according to the official, the Iraqi Kurdish authorities have demanded that Iranian Kurdish fighters withdraw from their positions along the border.
These threats follow a number of attacks carried out by Iranian regime forces on facilities belonging to Iranian Kurdish opposition parties on Iraqi soil, beginning on September 28. Sixteen people lost their lives in these attacks, including one American citizen. All this comes amid the rising death toll in the majority Kurdish provinces of western Iran, as Tehran seeks to crush the protests against the regime.