Iranian Kurdish parties deny being supported by Saudi Arabia

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Kurdish fighters of the Peshmerga in western Iran. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Erbil – Kurdish officials have denied renewed allegations by the Iranian government, claiming that Kurdish armed groups have received Saudi arms with the blessing of Kurdish President Masoud Barzani.

Military Aide to the Iranian Supreme Leader, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, accused the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq of allowing Saudi Arabia to arm Kurdish Peshmerga groups.

“In the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, Talabani enjoys good relations with Iran but not the Barzanis. We are concerned about the Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s divergence from Iraq’s central government since they have some agreements with the Zionists [in Israel],” Safavi was quoted by Iran’s Fars News Agency as saying.

Safavi alleged that the Barzanis, a leading family within the Kurdistan Democratic Party, were allowing materiel to cross over the KRG’s border with Iran. “The Barzanis allow the Saudis’ consulate in Northern Iraq to supply weapons to Iranian anti-revolutionary forces. We warn […] the Barzanis – they should know what they owe to Iran,” he said.

The Iranian major general said that future assistance to the KRG could be tied to their policing of the border. “The Iraqi Kurds are of Aryan origin, have Iranian roots and like Iran but they should know that if they enter this political game, it’s not clear that Iran will help them anymore,” he warned.

The Kurdistan Region denied the allegations on Thursday, describing them as “baseless and untrue.” In a statement, the KRG said that “Safavi has no evidence to prove that the Kurdistan Region has made any threat to Iran, in any way.”

Mihammed Salih Qadiri, a Central Committee Member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party-Iran (KDP-I), in an earlier interview, told ARA News that any allegations that Iranian Kurdish groups receive support from Saudi Arabia are baseless.

“This propaganda is nothing new; in the past they accused America and Israel of supporting our forces against Iran, but the Iranian authorities have no proof to support this claim,” Qadiri said.

“The Iranian regime always tries to export its problems, accusing the opposition forces of being backed by foreign countries. However, we stress that so far there has been no foreign support to the Kurdish people in Iran,” the senior Kurdish Politician told ARA News. “But if anyone wants to support us to fight Iran, we would welcome this.”

Hiwa Bahrami, a spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDK-I), confirmed that they have no relations with Saudi Arabia. “This is, of course, to be expected due to the tensions between the Saudis and Iran,” he said.

“Both sides are trying to support the opponents of each other. But we have, at this time, no contacts and the Saudis  [have] not contacted us,” Bahraini told ARA News.

Recently, the pro-government Fars News Agency claimed that several members of the Kurdish Komala Party were arrested by Iranian paramilitary forces.

Tensions have increased between the Iranian Kurdish parties and the Iranian government since the former decided to resume their armed struggle last summer. The parties are principally seeking an autonomous Kurdish government in Iran, analogous to the KRG in Iraq.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg and Sozbin Cheleng | Source: ARA News 

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