Wednesday, February 28, 2007
"TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran's Revolutionary Guards will pursue Kurdish rebels inside Iraq's borders if Baghdad fails to expel them from border zones, the head of the elite force warned on Wednesday.
"I warn the Kurdish movements of Iraq and Iranian anti-revolutionary armed rebels linked to foreigners that the Iraqi government must expel them from the region," said Yayha Rahim Safavi, according to the Mehr news agency.
"Otherwise, the Revolutionary Guards will view it as its right to chase and neutralise them beyond borders to defend its own security and that of the Iranian people," he said.
Safavi was speaking at the funeral for 14 Iranian military personnel killed in a helicopter crash last week during an operation against rebels close to the Turkish border in West Azarbaijan province.
"The United States and the Zionists seek to incite insecurity in Iran by allocating millions of dollars, equipping and financing satellite televisions and buying arms for these groups," Safavi added.
Iran accuses the United States and Britain of seeking to stir violence in its restive border provinces inhabited by ethnic minorities of Azeris, Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Baluch.
The guards chief called on "Kurds and Azeris in border areas to cooperate with armed forces to annihilate anti-Islamic rebels", adding "more than 30 rebels were killed" in the recent operations in the area.
Iran said on Tuesday it had killed three local chiefs of a Kurdish rebel group Pejak, which claimed shooting down the helicopter and killing 20 soldiers and senior officers.
The group is linked to Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)."