Iraqi Kurdish leader warns Iran against shelling

AFP , Sunday 3 Jul 2011

Kurdistan government condemns Iranian cross-border shelling of the border region which is home to members of an Iranian-Kurdish separatist group

The president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region has warned that ties with Tehran could suffer if Iran continues cross-border shelling against opponents, in a statement Sunday.

"We condemn the artillery fire against Iranian citizens in the border region of Kurdistan," Massud Barzani said, in the statement posted on his office website.

"This action is unjustified and may affect relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the autonomous region of Kurdistan," he warned.

Iran's forces regularly shell the border regions of Iraqi Kurdistan, home to members of the separatist Iranian-Kurdish rebel group PJAK, or the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan.

On Thursday Iranian forces shelled Haj Omran, a border crossing 70 kilometres (43 miles) northeast of the Kurdistan capital of Arbil.

"Instead of instilling fear, they (the Iranians) would do better to try to resolve the issue through dialogue and find workable solutions," said Barzani.
He said "the recent shelling of the border with Kurdistan caused damage to villages and farms in the region and forced the villagers to flee."

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