Iran says terrorist groups based in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region will be disarmed within the next few weeks under an agreement reached between Tehran and Baghdad.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq have concluded an agreement, under which the Iraqi government takes on the commitment to disarm terrorist and separatist groups in Kurdistan region, vacate military barracks set up there and transfer them to the camps established by the Iraqi government,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani said in Tehran on Monday.
He said Iraqi officials have notified authorities in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of the terms of the memorandum of understanding.
Kan'ani underscored that the September 19 deadline will not be extended in any way. He said Iraqi officials as well as Special Representative for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are aware of Iran's stance.
“Iran-Iraq relations are friendly, warm, friendly and constructive, but the presence of anti-Iran terrorists on the Iraqi soil in a blight on mutual relations. We expect the Iraqi government to eliminate the bane,” Kana’ani said.
He stressed that Iran will take matters into its own hands to ensure its own security if the deadline passes without any implementation of the agreement.
US military presence in Syria completely illegal
Kana’ani also denounced the presence of US occupation forces in Syria as completely illegal, stating that their deployment has not been at the request of the Damascus government as Syrian state officials have long been demanding their immediate withdrawal.
“Developments in Syria have shown that the US military presence is not only illegal but also the root cause of sustained instability. It provides terrorist groups with the opportunity to survive. We view US military presence in the region as detrimental to peace, stability and tranquility,” he said.
Removal of oppressive sanctions
Elsewhere in his remarks, Kana’ani said the incumbent Iranian administration pursues two approaches as regards the removal of cruel sanctions against the country.
At the same as Tehran is holding negations for the return of all parties to their commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, it attempts to neutralize the sanctions, he pointed out.
Swiss charge d’affaires summoned
Kan’ani also said the charge d'affaires of the Swiss embassy in Tehran, representing US interests in Iran, has been summoned by the Iranian Foreign Ministry following the unloading of hundreds of thousands of barrels of seized Iranian oil sitting in a Greek tanker off the coast of Texas.
The US Navy unloaded a tanker of stolen Iranian oil worth around $56 million off the Texas port, brushing off warnings from Iran.
For months, American oil firms had resisted the temptation of touching the 800,000-barrel tanker for fear of Iranian retaliation in the Persian Gulf waters.
But as Iran was marking the 70th anniversary of the CIA-engineered military coup against Iran's then-PM Mohammad Mosaddeq this month, the US Navy briskly transferred the oil to another tanker.
The Marshall Islands-flagged Suez Rajan tanker carrying Iranian oil was illegally seized by Washington in April under the guise of “a sanctions-enforcement operation" and guided toward the Texas port.
Interestingly, it came days after a group of US senators and House representatives, at the behest of the Israeli lobby in Washington, began mounting pressure on the Joe Biden administration to unload the tanker, without considering its possible repercussions.
It's not the first time though that Americans have resorted to such foolhardy adventurism, stealing oil and blatantly bragging about it. The quintessential US banditry and thuggery have been on display on many occasions in recent years.
In May last year, Americans seized a Russia-operated ship, the Pegas, carrying Iranian oil off the shore of Karystos near Greece to dispatch the oil cargo to the US but the Greek court ruled against the move, refusing to bow down to the hegemon's pressure.
In February 2021, Americans seized a tanker carrying Iranian oil off the coast of the Emirati city of Fujairah and sold more than a million barrels of oil confiscated from it for $110 million, or $55 a barrel.
Iran-Russia cooperation not directed at any third party
The spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry also stressed that Tehran-Moscow cooperation fall within the framework of bilateral relations and common interests, and is anchored in international laws.
He roundly dismissed Western allegations Iranian military drones have been employed against Ukraine.
“Iran's cooperation with Russia had existed before the start of the war, will continue within the framework of mutual ties and is not directed at any third party,” he said.