Iran wants Iraqi Kurds to clarify rebel truce call

AFP , Tuesday 6 Sep 2011

Iranian Revolutionary Guards say that Iraq's Kurdish autonomous government must clarify the ceasefire call by Kurdish rebels


Iranian Revolutionary Guards said Tuesday that Iraq's Kurdish autonomous government must clarify the ceasefire call given by Kurdish rebels after sustained bombing of border areas by the military force.

"Since the content of the unilateral ceasefire announced by the PJAK terrorist group is not clear-cut, the government of the autonomous (Iraqi) Kurdistan region which mediated this act should clarify the intention of the ceasefire as soon as possible," the Guards' website, Sepahnews, reported.

The statement said that the Guards "will officially announce their position" after the cease-fire call is clarified.

On Monday, the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) declared a truce and called on Iran to reciprocate in order to prevent further bloodshed.

Tehran resumed its operation against the PJAK in its western border areas with Iraq on Friday, with the Guards announcing that so far "more than 30 PJAK rebels were killed and 40 wounded."

In July, Iran launched a major offensive against the rebels, shelling border districts for weeks but halted it during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan to give the rebels a chance to withdraw from border areas.

The Guards, however, said the Kurdish rebels had failed to do so which prompted the latest offensive.

PJAK rebels have clashed repeatedly with Iranian forces in recent years, drawing retaliatory bombing of their rear-bases in mountainous border districts of Iraqi Kurdistan.

"The anti-revolutionaries, rebels and PJAK terrorist elements must completely leave the border areas so full security is restored in the borders of the Islamic republic," the Guards said in a statement on Monday.

A statement posted Sunday night on the PJAK's website said that "if Iran does not agree to the ceasefire, (it) will be responsible for any response" from the rebels.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has criticised Iran and Turkey over their military actions targeting suspected rear-bases of Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.

Ankara too announced the resumption of operations against PKK rear-bases in mid-August. The group, which has links with the PJAK, has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule in southeastern Turkey since 1984.

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