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Ultimatum for Iraq to disarm Kurdish separatists will not be extended: Iran

Iranian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Nasser Kan'ani

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan'ani says the ultimatum given to iraq to disarm Kurdish separatist groups will not be extended.

“Iran’s stance is completely clear. According to the agreement reached with the Iraqi government, the final deadline for the disarmament of the terrorist and separatist forces in Iraq’s Kurdistan region ends on September 19 and that deadline will not be extended in any way.”

He noted that the Iraqi government has taken measures in this regard, and has stressed that it will honor its commitments.

Iran, Russia to sign comprehensive roadmap for bilateral ties

Noting that the Iran-Russia relations in all fields are growing, Kan’ani told reporters that “talks are underway between the two countries to draft a comprehensive document” aimed to serve as “a complete and comprehensive roadmap” that will allow government institutions to pursue bilateral ties based on the set goal.

He noted that the two sides exchanged a draft agreement, and that their working groups are reviewing it.

The two sides will sign “the new comprehensive document” once it is finalized, he said, adding that it will “turn into a new roadmap for expanding cooperation and relations with Russia.”

Russia and Iran, both under Western sanctions, have forged closer relations in military and other areas in recent years.

Iran in contact with Armenia, Azerbaijan

Referring to the situation on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the spokesman said Tehran is “in contact with the two countries’ officials” with the aim of easing tensions.

He noted that Iran is “sensitive” about the security of its northern borders and is seriously monitoring the situation there because of “the importance of the developments in the Caucasus and the impact of any instability, unrest and new tension in the region on the entire region.”

Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other on Thursday of amassing troops close to their joint border as tensions continue to rise over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Located in the South Caucasus, the landlocked region of Nagorno-Karabakh has been at the center of a dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia for more than three decades.

Since gaining independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, the two neighboring countries have fought two wars, in 1994 and 2020, over the mountainous territory.

Karabakh, acknowledged as a part of Azerbaijan by the international community, has had a predominantly Armenian population since the outbreak of a separatist war in 1994 which drove about half a million Azerbaijanis from their homes.

Tensions remain high and skirmishes along the shared border.

Commenting on the election of a new president in Karabakh, Kan’ani reiterated that Iran’s stance on the region is “clear, constant and transparent”, adding that Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan and that the rights and safety of the region’s residents must be ensured within a specific framework.

He stressed the importance of respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all countries and refraining from any actions that cause tensions.

The spokesman also reiterated Iran’s opposition to any change to the region’s geopolitics and internationally-recognized border.

Referring to the joint drills between Armenia and the US, the spokesman said the American troops “were never seeking stability and security”, and that they created instability and insecurity wherever they existed.

He stressed that the presence of extra-regional forces in the region disturbs its security, adding the security of the region must be ensured by the regional countries.

Response to any 'foolish Israeli action’

Commenting on assassination threats made by the chief of the Israeli Mossad spy agency against Iranian officials, Kan’ani said such remarks prove that Israel is a “fake, usurping regime that is based on terrorism” and is pursuing terrorist acts to achieve its “illegitimate” interests.

The spokesman vowed that Iran will respond to “any foolish action”, noting that Tehran has proved its ability to ensure its security and has dealt the Israeli regime heavy blows many times.

Europe’s role in Saddam’s chemical attacks

Elsewhere in his remarks, the spokesman noted that Tehran has been legally and diplomatically pursuing the role played by some European countries, whether directly and indirectly through their companies, in supplying the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons to be used against Iranians during the 1980-1988 war on Iran.

He noted that protecting the rights of the Iranian people is among the duties of the diplomatic apparatus, vowing that it will continue to pursue the issue in international forums.

Attack on Iran embassy in Paris

Commenting on the recent attack on Iran’s embassy in France, Kan’ani emphasized that “we strongly condemn” the assault.

He noted that Iran has sent a formal notice of protest to French officials in Tehran and Paris.

On Saturday, members of anti-Iranian counterrevolutionary groups attacked the building’s consular section. The assailants burnt tires in front of the entrance to the building’s consular section, inflicting some minor damage on its door.

Kan’ani stressed that France is responsible to ensure the security of Iran’s embassy and diplomatic facilities under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.

He added that France’s ambassador in Tehran strongly condemned the action during a meeting with the head of Europe department at the foreign ministry and stressed that the French authorities are pursuing the case to identify those responsible for the act and hold them accountable.

“We and the French government are pursing the issue,” he stressed.

Transfer of unblocked funds 'soon’

Asked about a Reuters’ report that said the transfer of Iranian funds which were blocked in South Korea under the pretext of US sanctions to banks in Qatar will take place as early as this week, Kan’ani expressed the country’s hope that “the transfer will be completed in the upcoming days and that the Islamic Republic will gain full access to its assets.”

Iran, under the reached agreement, can use its unblocked funds “to buy unsanctioned goods”, Kan’ani stressed.

Kan’ani also reiterated that the release of the funds has nothing to do with the prisoner exchange agreement with the United States.

“Considering the humanitarian nature of the issue, we are ready to implement the prisoner swap deal,” he said, noting that it could have taken place long ago if the American side had cooperated and had not linked it to other issues such as the nuclear deal, which the US unilaterally abandoned in May 2018 despite Iran's full and strict compliance.

“We are optimistic that the exchange of prisoners will take place in the near future based on the reached agreement.”

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