Iran-Iraq ties on edge as deadline to disarm, relocate armed groups looms
18 September 2023
Iraq’s Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein landed in Tehran last week, days before the Sept. 19 deadline to implement a bilateral security agreement, carrying an important message for Iranian authorities: armed groups operating in northern Iraq will be disarmed and relocated in time, Anadolu Agency reports.
At a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Hussein reiterated that message, asserting that the objective would be achieved in a matter of days.
He said the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) authorities are working in tandem to execute a plan under which these groups would be moved to camps in faraway locations.
Amir-Abdollahian welcomed the “positive” news and stressed that giving “even one hour” to these groups is detrimental to the security of Iraq, Iran and the wider region.
This is all part of a deal Iran and Iraq signed in late August, which focuses on disarming and relocating exiled “armed terrorist groups” in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region by Tuesday.
It came five months after the security chiefs of the two countries held talks in Baghdad that ended with a comprehensive accord on securing their joint border.
At his weekly presser last Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said the country’s stance is clear and the ultimatum issued to Iraqi authorities will not be extended.
The Iraqi foreign minister, however, sought guarantees from the Iranian side that the “language of violence and aggression” would not be employed between the two sides, amid reports that Iran had dispatched military equipment to the northwestern border with the Iraqi Kurdish region.
Just a day before reaching Tehran last Wednesday, Hussein told reporters in Baghdad that the process of relocating the armed groups has commenced, which was also corroborated by Iranian media.