Faced with a revolt that is not extinguished in Iran, Tehran is looking for scapegoats. The Islamic Republic launched a new series of missile and drone strikes on Monday (November 14th) against Iranian Kurdish opposition groups based in neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan. At least one person died and eight others were injured, according to local officials.
Tehran accuses these groups, which have long been in its sights, of stirring up the current unrest in Iran. Demonstrations have taken place almost daily in the country since the death in custody, on September 16, of the young Iranian Kurdish Mahsa Amini, after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran.
Iran confirmed strikes against what it described as “terrorist groups” based in the autonomous region of Kurdistan of Iraq (North), bordering Iranian territory.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has “condemned in the strongest terms” these strikes, which “encroach on Iraqi sovereignty”assuring that he would take “high-level diplomatic measures”without however detailing them.
For its part, the United Nations (UN) mission in Iraq has “condemned these new drone and missile attacks in Kurdistan which violate the sovereignty of Iraq”. The same disapproval from the United States, which called on Iran to “cease these attacks and refrain from any new threat against the territorial integrity of Iraq”by the voice of the spokesman of the State Department, Ned Price.
Missiles and drones
“Five Iranian missiles targeted a building of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan of Iran (PDKI)”detailed to Agence France-Presse (AFP) Tariq Al-Haidari, mayor of Koysanjaq, a city located east of Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. “There is one dead and eight injured. They are Iranian Kurds”detailed the Ministry of Health of the autonomous region.
Videos circulating on social media showed plumes of black smoke rising into the sky after the strikes.
At the same time, “four drone strikes” targeted bases of the Iranian Communist Party and the Iranian Kurdish nationalist group Komala in the Zrgoiz region, said Atta Seqzi, a leader of Komala, told by AFP. According to him, the activists were “warned of the imminence of the strikes” and they evacuated the facilities. “There is no death or injury”he added.
An Iranian military source confirmed attacks with “missiles and drones” versus “headquarters of terrorist parties” in Iraq. The people targeted were “terrorists who have actively participated in the riots of the past two months, in particular by setting fires to banks and administrative buildings in several localities” of Iranian Kurdistan, said General Mohammad-Taghi Osanlou, commander of a base of the Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s ideological army, on public television. The Iranian authorities describe as“riots” protests against the death of Mahsa Amini.
Iran has stepped up its attacks on these Iranian Kurdish opposition groups since the protests began. At the end of September, at least fourteen people were killed and 58 injured, “mostly civilians”in Iranian bombings, according to the counter-terrorist forces of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Iraqi Kurdistan, whose authorities maintain very tense relations with the central government in Baghdad, is also regularly the scene of Turkish bombardments.
New Western sanctions against Tehran
Tehran was targeted on Monday by new Western sanctions for its repression of the demonstrations caused by the death of Mahsa Amini. The United Kingdom has thus targeted around twenty “Iranian leaders responsible for heinous human rights violations”.
These measures were taken in coordination with the European Union, which also approved a new series of sanctions, concerning, in particular, the Iranian Minister of the Interior, Ahmad Vahidi, and the public channel Press TV, accused of having broadcast “forced confessions” of detainees.
In Geneva, an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council is to be held on November 24 on the situation in Iran, during which the opening of an international investigation into the repression which has left more than 326 dead, according to the Oslo-based NGO Iran Human Rights.