Iranian Kurdish insurgents reportedly vowed this week to intensify their fight against Iran in response to the missile attacks against Kurdish positions in Iraqi Kurdistan claimed by the hardline Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) this month.
Citing discrimination at the hands of Tehran and demanding independence, Iranian Kurdish fighters have for years waged an on-again, off-again insurgency in the Kurdish-majority areas of northwestern Iran along the Iraq border.
In the wake of renewed attacks and clashes between Kurdish troops and Iranian security forces, including the elite IRGC, Tehran shelled Kurdish positions across the border in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Specifically, the IRGC targeted the Iranian Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP) offices in the Iraqi Kurdistan town of Koya, near the Iran border, on September 8. The Trump administration has deemed the IRGC to be a terrorist organization.
The IRGC reportedly killed 15 of its members and wounded more than 40 others.
“This tragedy requires that we work closely together to prevent more criminal acts from the Islamic Republic [Iran],” Mustafa Mauludi, secretary general of KDP, told Voice of America (VOA) this week.
“From this moment we will begin a new chapter of resistance against the regime in Tehran, for the sake of freedom of our nation,” he added.
The KDP is one several Iranian Kurdish dissident groups operating in Iraqi Kurdistan in northern Iraq.
“KDP, labeled a terrorist organization by Tehran, is a splinter of Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) which has engaged in a persistent guerrilla war against the Iranian Islamic regime since 1979 to achieve ‘Kurdish national rights within a democratic federal republic of Iran,’” VOA explained.
Mauludi said his group is engaged in negotiations to join forces with other Kurdish dissident groups against Iran.
He reportedly indicated that “informal talks about a unified Kurdish front were already underway even before the attack.”
In a statement last week, the IRGC justified its attack on KDP headquarters, saying it came in response to incursions of “terrorist bands linked to the U.S.” into Iranian territory, an accusation denied by the Kurdish group, VOA reported.
“The punishment of transgressors was planned following the recent months’ wicked acts by terrorists from the Kurdistan Region against the Islamic Republic’s borders,” the IRGC declared.
Tehran reportedly blames the United States for the growing Kurdish insurgency, claiming Washington aims to fuel instability in Iran.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has denied the allegations.
“The U.S. is not supporting Kurdish military activity against Iran,” an unnamed U.S. State Department official told VOA. “Our activities in Iraq stand in stark contrast with those of the Iranian regime, which is working on a daily basis, through violence and intimidation, to subvert the will of the Iraqi people and undermine Iraq’s sovereignty.”
On the day that Iran shelled Kurdish positions inside Iraqi Kurdistan, an Iranian Kurdish rebel commander told the Associated Press (AP) that his group had received “military training in weapons and explosives from U.S. and European advisers as part of the international program backing Kurds in the war against the Islamic State [ISIS/ISIL] group in Iraq.”
Known as the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK), the group fought ISIS as a component of the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga troops.
Hussein Yazdanpana, the PAK commander, vowed to use the training against Iran. The PAK is one of the Iranian Kurdish dissident groups that has carried out recent attacks against Tehran.
Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq condemned Iran’s September 8 missile attacks as a violation of their sovereignty.
The KRG has urged Iranian Kurdish groups to avoid military conflict with Tehran.