Houshyar Zibari

Iraqi Foreign Minister Houshyar Zibari announced yesterday that Iran must stop its artillery attacks on the Kurdish border regions of Iraq.

AFP reports that Zibari told a press conference that the shelling of the border regions could harm Iran-Iraq relations.

For close to a month, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has been in armed conflict with the Kurdish militant group PJAK in the border regions of Iran and Iraq. The IRGC has targeted the Iraqi Kurdish areas with artillery attacks, contending that PJAK forces have set up base there.

Massoud Barzani, the head of the Kurdish Regional Government, has also condemned the shelling.

The Fars News Agency cited an unidentified IRGC official as saying that the shelling of the KRG border regions will continue until Iraqi forces are deployed in the area.

"The Iraqi government must deploy security and military forces in the border regions of Iran and Iraq and take responsibility for guarding the shared borders;" the officials is quoted by Fars.

The IRGC official goes on to add that the presence of PJAK forces in Iraqi territory is "sabotaging economic relations and trade between the Iranian and Iraqi people."

According to the IRGC official, in recent weeks "more than 50 anti-Revolutionary elements have been killed, 100 injured and some have also been captured and are currently being held by intelligence forces."

PJAK forces have also announced that they have managed to inflict "heavy casualties" on IRGC forces in recent weeks.