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Iran army attacks Kurds in Iraq amid protests

September 26, 2022

Tehran has accused Kurdish militants of delivering weapons to anti-government protesters and says the attack on targets in Iraq was a "legitimate response."

An Iranian woman stands on a car and waves a torch during a protest rally
The attack by Iran's Revolutionary Guard came at a time when Iran is witnessing massive protests over the death of a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa AminiImage: UGC

Iran's Revolutionary Guard on Monday launched a series of drone and artillery attack on the bases of Kurdish separatist groups in neighboring Iraq.

The attack came at a time when Iran is witnessing massive protests following the death of a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested by the morality police for not fully abiding by the strict dress code for women.

It was the second such cross-border assault since the weekend. Earlier on Saturday, a similar attack was unleashed on the bases and training camps of Kurdish separatist groups in northern Iraq.

Iran's government has accused Kurdish militants of involvement in the ongoing unrest in the country, particularly in the northwest, where most Kurds live. Their population in the Islamic Republic is estimated to up to 10 million.

Iran protests spread worldwide

According to the Tasnim news agency, the Revolutionary Guard described the action as a "legitimate response" to previous attacks by Kurdish groups on Iranian military bases and their support for the ongoing unrest.

Interior Minister Ahmad Wahidi had previously accused some Kurdish groups of being involved in the anti-government protests in Iran.

The government also alleges that there have been arms deliveries to protesters in the Kurdish regions.

The death of Amini earlier this month sparked unrest that has claimed dozens of lives.

Iran alleges US trying to violate sovereignty with unrest

Amid escalating violence, the Foreign Ministry on Monday pledged to respond to what it described as US attempts to violate Iran's sovereignty over the issues of the ongoing protests.

Iran has accused the United States of supporting rioters and of seeking the destabilization of the Islamic Republic.

"Washington is always trying to weaken Iran's stability and security, although it has been unsuccessful," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani told Nour news, a state-affiliated news agency.

The response to protests following the death of Amini has received international condemnation.

Iran rejects EU criticism of crackdown on protests

Nasser Kanaani, the spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said Monday that the European Union was intervening in the internal affairs of Iran and supporting "rioters."

Kanaani was responding to the European Union's Josep Borrell's comments on Sunday.

Borrell, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, said Sunday that the "widespread and disproportionate use of force against nonviolent protesters is injustifiable and unacceptable."

Borrell added that widespread internet outages were also a violation of "freedom of expression."

Germany on Monday said it summoned Iran's ambassador, with the German Foreign Ministry saying the meeting with the envoy would take place on Monday afternoon. 

The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement late on Monday that it "reiterates its most firm condemnation of the violent repression by Iranian security forces, examples of which led to the shocking death of Mahsa Amini." 

1,200 arrested over protests — officials

Officials said on Monday that Iran had arrested more than 1,200 people in the crackdown on protesters.

The chief prosecutor of the northern Mazandaran province said that the protesters, who he called "rioters" steered by "foreign anti-revolutionary agents," had "attacked government buildings and damaged public property." 450 of the 1,200 arrests were made in Mazandaran.

Meanwhile the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) NGO said that the crackdown has left at least 76 people dead.

"We call on the international community to decisively and unitedly take practical steps to stop the killing and torture of protesters," IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said. He added that video footage and death certificates obtained by the group showed "live ammunition is being directly fired at protesters."

rm, mf/dj. jsi (AP, dpa, AFP, Reuters)