Iraqi officials say the move is aimed at tightening the border with Iraq’s Kurdish region, where Tehran says armed Kurdish dissidents pose a threat to its security.
Iraq and Iran have signed a border security deal, a move Iraqi officials say is primarily aimed at tightening the border with Iraq’s Kurdish region, where Tehran says Kurdish armed groups pose a threat to its security.
Sunday’s joint security agreement includes coordination in “protecting common borders between the two countries and consolidating cooperation in several security areas,” according to a statement from the Iraqi prime minister’s office.
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani signed the agreement with Iraqi National Security Adviser Qasim al-Araji, in the presence of Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani, the Prime Minister’s Office announced.
“According to the signed security agreement, Iraq undertakes not to allow armed groups to use its territory in the Iraqi Kurdish region to launch any cross-border attacks on neighboring Iran,” said an Iraqi security official who attended the signing, according to Reuters news agency.
Shamkhani condemned the “vicious activities of counter-revolutionary elements” in northern Iraq, referring to Kurdish groups operating in the country, according to Iran’s state news agency IRNA.
He said the agreement signed on Sunday “can completely and fundamentally end the evil actions of these groups”, which the Iranian government calls “terrorists”.
Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region is home to camps and rear bases run by several factions of Iranian Kurds, who Iran accuses of serving Western or Israeli interests in the past.
The border came into focus again last year when Iran’s Revolutionary Guards launched rocket and drone attacks on Iranian Kurdish groups based in northern Iraq, accusing them of inciting protests sparked by the death of an Iranian Kurdish woman while in police custody. .
In the wake of the Iranian attacks, Iraq announced in November that it would redeploy federal guards on the border between Kurdish Iraq and Iran, instead of handing over responsibility to Kurdish Peshmerga forces – a move Tehran welcomed.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, speaking in Tehran, said that “Shamkhani’s current trip to Iraq is planned for four months and is focused on issues related to armed groups in northern Iraq.”
Iran will not accept threats from Iraqi territories in any way, he said.
Factions based in Iraq’s mountainous north have waged an armed insurgency against Tehran in the past, but their activities have declined in recent years, and experts say they have suspended almost all military activity.
Iran has also accused Kurdish fighters of working with its arch-enemy Israel and has often expressed concern over the alleged presence of Israel’s Mossad spy agency in Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous region.
Last year, Iran’s intelligence ministry said a sabotage team arrested by its security forces were Kurdish fighters working for Israel who planned to blow up a “sensitive” defense industry center in the city of Isfahan.