Iran’s IRGC troops.
Iranian security officials announced on 20 September that four bases belonging to “anti-revolutionary” militants were destroyed in northern Iraq near the border with the Islamic Republic.
A statement released by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) reads: “Four headquarters of the anti-revolutionary groups were targeted and destroyed by precision-guided weapons in response to their movements on the border of our country with northern Iraq.”
The statement goes on to add that alleged anti-Iran groups are being sponsored in northern Iraq by foreign adversaries and some Arab states, as part of a plan to create obstacles against Iran.
On 19 September, the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Baqeri, issued a warning against armed militant groups in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, saying that if they continue their “evil activities,” Tehran would be forced to “dismantle all of them.”
“Unfortunately, we witness that armed counter-revolutionary groups are actively operating in northern Iraq because of apathy shown on the part of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the central Iraqi government’s weaknesses as a result of American presence,” Baqeri told reporters.
The top Iranian official went on to add: “We have called upon the KRG leaders and Iraqi government officials to uproot these terrorist groups and prevent their activities, but the requests have not been properly answered. Therefore, if the presence of such outfits and their mischief continue, we will fully dismantle them.”
Iraq’s Kurdistan Region has long been used by anti-Iran militant groups such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its offshoot, PJAK, to launch occasional attacks against Iran’s border areas.
These warnings by the Iranian Armed Forces came on the same day that Tehran deployed a large contingent of military forces near the Azerbaijani border, reportedly to carry out its largest ever military exercise adjacent to the Aras river.
Experts believe the sudden mobilization of troops and heavy artillery is a response to Baku’s attempts to stop Iranian cargo trucks from entering Armenia.