MESOP : THE TARGET IS KRG ! NOTHING ELSE ! – Iran’s warning intended for Kurdish rebels, not Iraqi Kurdistan: envoy

Nrttw – RUDAW – MESOP  – 4 July 2016 –  Erbil, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’,— Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) representative to Tehran said on Saturday that the Islamic Republic’s recent warnings of war were not directed at Iraqi Kurdistan but were made to caution Iran’s armed Kurdish groups in the area.“Iranian authorities told me they did not mean Iraqi Kurdistan but those who carry out the attacks [against Iran],” Nazim Dabbagh told Rudaw.

In an apparent reference to recent clashes between Iran’s Kurdish rebels and its Islamic Revolutionary Guards, a senior Iranian commander warned Friday Tehran would target “the aggressors” also beyond its borders.

“We will indubitably destroy any place that makes a threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Hussein Salami, deputy commander of Iran’s elite troops, the Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran).Dabbagh said Salami’s remarks were in line with Tehran’s official policy regarding Iraqi Kurdistan with mutual respect for territorial integrity of both sides.

Meanwhile in Erbil, the representatives of Iran republic in Iraqi Kurdistan reassured the Kurdish region on Sunday that threats made by a military commander last week were a misunderstanding.Iraqi  Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Falah Mustafa, called the Iranian consul-generals from Sulaimani and Erbil to convey a message of concern to their government over a speech made by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) second-in-command, Brigadier Gen. Hossein Salami.“We strongly reject the threats and believe it works against amicable relations between Iran and the Kurdistan Region,” Mustafa said.

The Iranian consul-generals issued a statement saying” The Iranian government would never threaten the Kurdistan Region and the speech was a misunderstanding. We hope for peace and stability because we have a nearly 400 km border with Iraqi Kurdistan.”

The consul-generals said the speech was mistakenly received and was not aimed at Iraqi Kurdistan, offering the explanation that Salami’s speech referred to actions against threats to Iran and sovereign rights of the Iranian republic.Both sides concluded with an agreement to work together to achieve peaceful negotiations and Mustafa gave the consul-generals a copy of a KRG statement of reply to Salami’s remarks.Iranian Kurdish rebels resumed in June their armed campaign for self-rule against the Islamic Republic after nearly two decades of non-military struggle.

Iranian army has in the past shelled remote bordering areas in neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan, where most Iranian Kurdish troops are based, in apparent response to Kurdish rebels attacking their bases.The army resumed its shelling of areas inside Kurdistan region after KDPI’s deadly clash with the Pasdaran in a village close to the Iranian Kurdish town of Shino in late June.A KRG statement on Saturday slammed Salami’s remarks and described them as contrary to “historic and friendly relations” between Erbil and Tehran.“We cannot say that Commander Salami’s threats are not Iran’s, since he is the deputy of the Revolutionary Guards,” said Dabbagh and described the KRG response as “friendly and soft.” “The Kurdistan Regional Government values its relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and we continuously endeavor to advance these ties in all aspects,” the KRG statement read.