Thursday, July 21, 2011

Iraq, Iran issue border demands after clashes -- A sign of things to come?

Iran must respect its borders with Iraq, authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan said on Tuesday, after Tehran's forces clashed with Iranian Kurdish rebels leaving several people dead.

Iranian security officials, however, fired back by demanding that Iraq prevent the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) from attacking Iran from bases located within Iraq.

The rhetoric on all sides has heated up in recent days, barely a week after Iranian officials stated that they reserved the right to attack PJAK bases in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

"We demand Iran respect the sovereignty of the Kurdistan region as part of the sovereignty of Iraq," regional government spokesman Qawa Mahmud told AFP, a day after Iran said it had taken "full control" of three PJAK camps on Iraqi soil.

"There was Iranian infiltration along the Iraqi border," Mahmud added. "If there is any border problem, the best way to resolve it is through negotiations and peace, not by bombing civilians."

In Tehran, a senior officer in Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards demanded on Tuesday that the Baghdad government and Kurdish authorities in Iraq prevent Kurdish rebels from attacking Iran from Iraqi territory. (more)