Iran attacks Kurdish opposition group in Iraq, protests escalate at home

Iran has launched dozens of missile and drone strikes on Kurdish positions in northern Iraq that are believed to have killed or wounded nearly 40 people. Wednesday’s attack, the fifth in as many days, was harshly rebuked by U.S. officials as an “unjustifiable violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Tehran has accused Kurdish opposition groups of inciting unrest in Iran after 22-year-old Kurdish Mahsa Amini died in police custody after being detained on suspicion of violating the country’s strict hijab law. The missile and drone strikes were carried out by Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“We are also aware of reports of civilian casualties and regret any loss of life caused by today’s attack,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday. “We further condemn the Iranian government for threatening more attacks on Iraq. rhetoric. We stand with the Iraqi people and government in the face of these outrageous attacks on Iraqi sovereignty.”

Tehran said the attack followed repeated warnings from Iraqi Kurdistan officials that they had failed to prevent an incursion by opposition groups across the border.

“Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps ground forces will continue to carry out attacks on terrorist strongholds to secure borders, punish terrorists, and force officials in the Iraqi Kurdistan region to perform their duties in accordance with international regulations,” Iranian officials said, according to the state-owned Islamic Republic News Agency.

The Kurdistan health ministry said nine people were killed and 32 others injured in Iranian shelling. Hospitals were told to prepare to receive casualties from the Iranian bombing campaign.

Iran’s Kurdish Democratic Party, one of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ targeted opposition groups, said the missile and drone strikes were aimed at diverting attention from the ongoing protests that have rocked Iran for nearly two weeks. The regime acknowledged that some 41 people were killed in the protests, but private rights groups said the number was much higher.

“Terrorists Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are now attacking our party headquarters and the neighbouring Khoya refugee camp. We call on the international community not to remain silent,” KDPI said on Twitter.

A senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps general told Iran’s Tasnim news agency that target bases in Kurdistan had played a major role in the recent unrest. Brig. The IRGC’s deputy commander in charge of operations, General Abbas Nilflusan, said they were ready to “destroy any base that endangers Iran’s security”.

“Under no circumstances will we allow a threat to be formed across the country,” General Nilforooshan said.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said the missile strikes were carried out with “precision” and inflicted heavy losses on Kurdish personnel at the targeted base.

“Such operations will continue decisively until the threat has been effectively eliminated, the terrorist organization’s base has been dismantled, and [Kurdish Regional Government] According to Tasnim, Iranian officials lived up to their responsibilities.

British officials also slammed Iran, saying it should immediately stop a bombing campaign that damaged civilian infrastructure and killed some protesters.

“These attacks violate Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and are totally unacceptable. They demonstrate Iran’s repeated destabilizing activities in the region,” British Foreign Secretary for Commonwealth and Development Tariq Ahmed said in a statement. said in the statement.

Demonstrations sparked by Ms Amini’s death in moral police custody have spread to dozens of cities in Iran, sparking a harsh government crackdown on security forces. Iran’s “morality police” arrested 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on September 13, 2022, for allegedly not wearing the hijab, known as the hijab, which is fully mandated. She collapsed in the detention center, fell into a coma and died of a heart attack three days later, according to Iranian officials.

Hundreds of people were arrested at demonstrations across Iran, including lawyers, human rights advocates and at least 18 journalists, the United Nations said. Security forces sometimes responded to demonstrations with live ammunition, UN officials said.

Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the UN’s acting high commissioner for human rights, accused Tehran of failing to fully investigate Ms. Amini’s death and said they were concerned about Tehran’s excessive use of force against protesters.

“Firearms must never be used solely to disperse a gathering. In the case of a gathering, they should only be used where there is an imminent threat to life or serious injury,” Ms Shamdasani said.

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