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Iraq, Iran sign deal to strengthen border security

Iraqi officials say the move is aimed at strengthening Iraq’s border with Kurdish areas.

Iraq and Iran signed a border security agreement. Iraqi officials said the move was aimed primarily at strengthening Iraq’s border with the Kurdistan region, with Tehran saying Kurdish armed groups pose a threat to its security.

Sunday’s joint security agreement includes adjustments to “protect the common borders between the two countries and strengthen cooperation in several security areas,” the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. rice field.

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council head Ali Shamkhani signed a deal with Iraqi national security adviser Qasim al-Araji in the presence of Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani, the prime minister’s office said.

An Iraqi security official who attended the signing ceremony said, “Under the signed security agreement, Iraq will not allow armed groups to use territory in Iraq’s Kurdistan region to cross the border to neighboring Iran,” Reuters reported. We have pledged not to allow crossing attacks to be launched,” he said. news agency.

According to Iran’s state news agency IRNA, Shamkhani accused “vicious activities of counter-revolutionary elements” in northern Iraq.

He said the agreement signed on Sunday “can completely and fundamentally put an end to the vicious behavior of these groups” that the Iranian government calls “terrorists”.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shea al-Sudani (far right) meets with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council head Ali Shamkhani in Baghdad, Iraq. [Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office/Handout via Reuters]

The semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq hosts camps and rear bases run by several Iranian Kurdish factions that Iran has accused in the past of serving Western or Israeli interests.

The frontier received new attention last year by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. Launched missiles and drone attacks It accused an Iranian Kurdish group based in northern Iraq of inciting protests in the wake of the death of an Iranian Kurdish woman in police custody.

After an Iranian strike, Iraq announced in November that it would redeploy its Federal Guard forces to the border between Kurdish Iraq and Iran rather than leave the blame to Kurdish Peshmerga forces — a move Tehran hailed.

Speaking in Tehran, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian said: “Mr Shamkhani’s current visit to Iraq is planned for four months and will focus on issues related to armed groups in northern Iraq.” .

He said Iran would never accept a threat from Iraqi territory.

The faction, based in northern Iraq’s mountainous region, has staged armed uprisings against Tehran in the past, but its activity has dwindled in recent years, with experts saying they have halted nearly all military activity. Stated.

Iran has also accused Kurdish fighters of collaborating with its arch-enemy Israel, and has often expressed concern over the alleged presence of Israeli spy agency Mossad in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.

Last year, Iran’s intelligence ministry said the sabotage team detained by security forces were Kurdish fighters working for Israel who were planning to blow up a “secret” defense industrial center in the city of Isfahan. said there is.

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