Iranian forces kill five Kurdish separatists, Revolutionary Guards say

Reuters , Monday 13 Jun 2016

Iran's Revolutionary Guards killed five members of a Kurdish separatist group involved in assaults last month in the northwest of the country, state media said on Monday.

The five were responsible for the killings of two members of the Revolutionary Guards in Sardasht last month and an engineer working there, the Guards said in the statement.

It did not say when the five were killed. "A five-member team of the terrorist group PJAK were identified in a region near Sardasht ... and were all killed by the Revolutionary Guards army," Tasnim news agency reported, citing the Guards' statement.

Party of Free Life of Kurdistan, or PJAK, is an outlawed group that seeks self-governance for Iran's Kurds and has links to Turkey's militant Kurdish Workers' Party.

A ceasefire between the government and PJAK was signed in 2011, when Iran said it would suspend executions of Kurdish political prisoners if PJAK stopped its attacks.

Both sides regularly violated the deal, but in recent months the number of clashes has climbed. Iran's seven million Kurds make up around 10 percent of the population. Most live in Kurdistan, a region in the northwest on the border with Iraq. It is among the most politically active regions in Iran, where little dissent is tolerated.

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