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 Iran calls on Kurdish PJAK rebels to lay down arms or leave 

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Iran calls on Kurdish PJAK rebels to lay down arms or leave  14.9.2011  

September 14, 2011

TEHRAN, — Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards have warned members of an Iraq-based Kurdish separatist group they will be fought "to the end" unless they lay down their arms or leave, local media reported Wednesday.

"Our message is that Islamic Republic of Iran will not tolerate any armed terrorist group which is the product of Americans. They will be confronted decisively till the end," the deputy commander of the force, Brigadier General Hossein Salami said, referring to the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK).

"The groups in the area should lay down their weapons and seek Islamic Republic of Iran compassion or get far enough from our borders, if not then we warn them that they should await our continuation of decisive attacks," he added.     

Deputy Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Hussein Salami. Photo Press TV

In July, Iran launched a major offensive against PJAK rebels, shelling districts near Iraq's Kurdistan border for weeks, but halted it during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to give the rebels a chance to withdraw from border areas.

PJAK announced a unilateral ceasefire on September 4. Authorities of the Islamic Republic have not staged any attacks on the group, however, the cross border shelling have continued.

The Iranian bombardment of Iraqi Kurdistan’s border areas had continued since more than 2 months,www.ekurd.netkilling and injuring many civilians and causing damage for dozens of houses and agricultural fields.

Human Rights Watch said on September 2, that it had evidence that Iran may have deliberately targeted civilians in its offenisve against the rebels.

Kurdish local officials and an NGO in early August reported that more than 200 Iraqi Kurdish families had been forced from their homes by weeks of Iranian shelling of separatist rebel bases in northern Iraq.

The Guards resumed the offensive on September 2, pledging to "continue until all counter-revolutionaries, rebels and terrorists have been cleared away."

Iranian media also quoted the commander of the Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, as saying that the presence of PJAK "prompted our ground forces to go ahead with precise and pre-emptive plans against this threat and it is continuing."

The two Guards' commanders in their comments made no reference to a call for a truce on September 5 by PJAK. The separatists urged Iran to reciprocate in order to prevent further bloodshed.

Tehran responded a day later, saying Iraq's Kurdistan autonomous government, which is acting as a mediator, must clarify the details of the proposed truce.

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.

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

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, AFP | | Agencies  


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