Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

Iran has sent additional special forces units to secure its northern border with Iraq and counter what it says is infiltration by Kurdish opposition groups, Iranian state media reported on Friday.

General Mohammad Pakpour, head of the ground forces of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guards, said “armored and special forces” units had been deployed to western and northwestern provinces to bolster existing border security, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The deployment is aimed at preventing infiltration and arms smuggling into the north by Kurdish opposition groups exiled in Iraq who Tehran claims are orchestrating anti-government protests across the country. That’s a claim Kurdish groups deny, and Iran has so far provided no evidence to back it up.

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Iran has several military bases near the Iraqi border and forces have been present there on a rotating basis for decades.

The troop movement also comes after Iraq issued directives to strengthen security along its foreign border to prevent further bombing by Iran, according to a statement issued by Iraqi military spokesman Major General Yahya Rasool. Kurdish opposition groups have bases in Iraq’s Kurdish-governed northern region.

Earlier this week, state media quoted Iranian officials as not planning a ground military operation to root out opposition groups from their bases, despite reportedly threatening to do so during a visit by top general Esmail Ghaani to Baghdad last week.

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Protest in downtown Vancouver for Iran part of global rally

Nationwide protests swept Iran in September following the death of a young woman in police custody for violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women. The protests have become one of the biggest challenges to Iran’s theocracy since the chaotic years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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Mahsa Amini, 22, died on September 16, three days after she was arrested by Iran’s morality police. The Iranian government insists Amini was not mistreated in police custody, but her family says her body showed bruises and other signs of beatings after she was detained.

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