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 Iraqi Kurdistan's Barzani, Iran declare border PJAK rebel issue “over”

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Iraqi Kurdistan's Barzani, Iran declare border PJAK rebel issue “over”  29.10.2011  

Massoud Barzani Arrives in Iran

October 29, 2011

TEHRAN,— Iran's Foreign Minister and the president of the autonomous Kurdistan region in Iraq declared on Saturday the issue of a Kurdish PJAK rebel group which has been launching attacks against the Islamic republic from its rear bases in Iraq was "over."

In July, Tehran launched a string of operations against the Iranian rebel Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) and began shelling districts near the border with Iraq, killing dozens including the rebels' deputy commander.

PJAK rebels, designated as "terrorists" by Tehran,          

Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi (R) and the president of the autonomous Kurdistan region in Iraq at press conference in Tehran. October 29, 2011.

have often clashed with Iranian forces, sparking retaliatory bombing of their rear bases in the mountainous border districts of Iraqi Kurdistan.   

"With the good management of Mr. Barzani, we were able to handle the issue of the PJAK terrorist group and currently our borders with the Kurdistan region of Iraq is secure," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted as saying by Iran's state-run television website.

"Mr. Barzani vowed to have the best borders from now on so people can travel easily and not be subject to any insecurity.... We consider this issue to be over," Salehi added.

The state broadcaster's website also quoted Barzani as saying: "The issue of PJAK terrorist group is over and we hope to witness complete security in our borders."

Iran has in the past accused Barzani's autonomous Kurdistan region of providing the PJAK with a safe haven along the border.

The President of Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani, has arrived in Tehran on Saturday at Mehrabad International Airport in Iranian Capital Tehran, on an official visit and was received in the airport by the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Akbar Salehi and Iraq's Ambassador to Tehran, Mohammed Majid al-Sheikh.

KRG health “Dr. Tahir Hawrami “, energy ministers “Mr.Yasin Abu Baker”, Dr. Fuad Hussein, Head of Kurdistan Presidency ,several political officials as well as governor of Erbil “Nawzad Hadi” and Sulaimaniyah provinces governor “Divan , Behrouz Mohammed Salih “are accompanying President Barzani during the trip.

During the meeting, they discussed ways to promote and advance bilateral relations in all aspects between the two countries.

In September, the Islamic republic's elite Revolutionary Guards said they had forced the armed rebels out of northwestern Iran and killed more than 180 Kurdish rebels in a summer offensive.

A week ago, Salehi said after talks with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu that the Kurdish rebel group PKK active in Turkey and the PJAK "are the common problem of our countries."

Speaking at a televised joint press conference with Davutoglu, he urged "more serious cooperation" against the rebels.

Davutoglu said: "Our joint determination to fight against PKK and PJAK will go on in its strongest terms. From now on we will work together with a joint action plan until this threat of terror is eliminated totally."

Since 2004 the PJAK took up arms for self-rule in Kurdistan province northwestern of Iran (Iranian Kurdistan, Eastern Kurdistan). Half the members of PJAK are women. The PJAK has over 5,000 armed militiamen.

The group takes sanctuary in the northern border mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan Region, mainly in Qandil Mountain. This area is populated by civilian nomadic Kurdish families.

Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey all have significant ethnic Kurdish minorities. Estimate to over 12 million Kurds live in Iran.      

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