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Iraq and Iran sign an agreement to tighten border security

Iraqi officials say the move aims to tighten the noose on the border with the Iraqi Kurdish region, where Tehran says armed Kurdish opponents pose a threat to its security.

Iraq and Iran signed a border security agreement, in a move Iraqi officials say is primarily aimed at tightening borders with the Iraqi Kurdish region, where Tehran says Kurdish armed groups pose a threat to its security.

A statement issued by the Iraqi prime minister’s office said that the joint security agreement, Sunday, includes coordination in “protecting the common borders between the two countries and enhancing cooperation in several security fields.”

The Prime Minister’s Office said that the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council signed the agreement with Iraqi National Security Adviser Qassem Al-Araji, in the presence of Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Al-Sudani.

An Iraqi security official who attended the signing said, according to Reuters, “Under the signed security agreement, Iraq undertakes not to allow armed groups to use its territory in the Iraqi Kurdistan region to launch any cross-border attacks on its neighbor Iran.” news agency.

Shamkhani denounced the “vicious activities of counter-revolutionary elements” in northern Iraq, referring to Kurdish groups operating in the country, according to the official IRNA news agency.

He said the agreement signed on Sunday “can completely and fundamentally end the evil actions of these groups,” which the Iranian government classifies as “terrorists.”

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

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

And a renewed focus on the border last year when the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Launched missile and drone attacks against Iranian Kurdish groups based in northern Iraq, accusing them of fomenting the protests that erupted after the killing of an Iranian Kurdish woman while she was in police custody.

After the Iranian strikes, Iraq announced in November that it would redeploy the Federal Guard on the border between the Kurds of Iraq and Iran, rather than leaving responsibility to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces – a move welcomed by Tehran.

Speaking in Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said, “Shamkhani’s current trip to Iraq is planned for four months and is focused on issues related to armed groups in northern Iraq.”

He said that Iran will in no way accept threats from Iraqi soil.

The factions based in the mountainous north of Iraq in the past waged an armed rebellion against Tehran, but their activities have declined in recent years and experts said they have stopped almost all military activities.

Iran has also accused the Kurdish fighters of working with arch-enemy Israel, and has frequently expressed concern about the alleged presence of Israel’s Mossad spy agency in the Iraqi Kurdish autonomous region.

The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence said last year that the sabotage team arrested by its security forces were Kurdish fighters working for Israel and were planning to blow up a “hassas” center for defense industries in the city of Isfahan.

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