The Iranian defense minister says Tehran will not extend the ultimatum given to Iraq to disarm Kurdish separatist groups along the border with Iran, warning Baghdad of an "eleventh-hour decision" on the matter.
Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani made the remarks in an interview with Iran newspaper published on Sunday, referring to a security agreement concluded between Iran and Iraq back in March.
Under the agreement, the Iraqi government has promised to disarm terrorist and separatist groups based in the Kurdistan region by September 19, vacate their military barracks, and transfer them to the camps established by the Baghdad government.
"We do not have any extension [to the deadline]. We will act in due time in accordance with the agreement made [with Iraq]," he said.
The Iranian defense minister said the Iraqi government has carried out a series of measures. He said Iran will conduct a last-minute assessment of the situation before making the final decision.
The remarks come as Iran's Nour News, which is affiliated with the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), reported on Sunday that despite the active measures taken by the federal government in Baghdad, "some clauses of agreement have not been fully implemented that need follow-up."
Info received by @nournewsen indicate; Despite active measures that #Iraq has taken to implement the Tehran-Baghdad Security Agreement regarding disarmament and expulsion of terrorist groups from #KRI, some clauses of agreement have not been fully implemented that need follow-up.— nournewsen (@nournewsen) September 17, 2023
Iraqi media, however, reported on Saturday the country's border guards have managed to gain full control over an area on the Kurdistan region’s border with Iran and drive out terrorist groups following fierce clashes.
Iraq’s Shafaq News Agency cited the country’s Border Guard Forces as saying in a statement late on Friday that they had seized border points in Erbil Province and raised Iraq’s national flag in the area after clashes with the “outlaws”.
During a visit to Tehran earlier this week, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein assured the Islamic Republic that Baghdad was committed to the security pact with Iran to disarm the terrorist groups based in the Kurdistan region.
Stressing that the Iraqi constitution does not allow any group to use the Iraqi territory to attack other countries, Hussein told his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, that the Baghdad government and the Kurdistan region are cooperating in this regard and both take implementation of the security agreement seriously.
Last week, Bafel Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), held talks with the Iranian foreign minister and Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf.
Amir-Abdollahian told the PUK leader that the presence of terrorists in Iraqi Kurdistan region contravenes the Arab country's constitution and is not compatible with cordial relations between Tehran and Baghdad.
The security agreement between the two countries came after anti-Iranian terrorist groups residing in Iraqi Kurdistan region increased their malign activities, especially in border areas.
Responding to their activities, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has launched several rounds of strikes against their positions since September 24 last year, vowing to continue the attacks until the groups are disarmed.
Iran has, on countless occasions, warned Iraqi Kurdistan’s local authorities that it will not tolerate the presence and activity of terrorist groups along its northwestern borders, saying the country will give a decisive response should those areas become a haven for anti-Tehran terrorists.