Baghdad on Sunday denounced Iranian missile strikes that have killed at least 15 people in the northern Iraq.
“Iraq protects the security of its neighbors and does not allow its territory to be used to threaten these countries,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Mahjoub said after Iran’s Revolutionary Guards admitted firing seven missiles targeting a dissident Iranian Kurdish group.
About 30 others were injured when the short-range surface-to-surface missiles struck a meeting on Saturday of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) at their headquarters in Koy Sanjaq, about 60km east of Irbil, capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.
The group’s secretary-general, Mustafa Hijri, and his predecessor, Abdullah Hasanzadeh, were among those injured.
“Iraq categorically rejects the violation of its territorial sovereignty by strikes against targets on its territory,” Mahjoub said.
The KDPI is Iran’s oldest Kurdish movement. Tehran designates it a terrorist group and has assassinated several of its leaders. The group had recently clashed with Iranian Revolutionary Guards forces in the towns of Marivan and Kamyaran in Iran’s Kurdistan region.
Armed Iranian Kurdish groups operate in remote and mountainous Iran-Iraq border regions. Despite clashes with Iranian forces, there is little security coordination between Iran and Iraq.
The missile attack was followed on Sunday by a renewed bout of military saber-rattling from Tehran, as the regime faces mounting pressure from the collapse of the 2015 deal to curb its nuclear program and the renewal of punishing US economic sanctions.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a rallying cry to Iran’s armed forces. “Increase your power as much as you can, because your power scares off the enemy and forces it to retreat,” Khamenei said at a graduation ceremony for military cadets in the Caspian port city of Nowshahr.
“Iran and the Iranian nation have resisted America and proven that, if a nation is not afraid of threats by bullies and relies on its own capabilities, it can force the superpowers to retreat and defeat them.”
Brig. Gen. Majid Bokaei, head of Iran’s main defense university, boasted that Tehran had “reached a stage where we can export the technology to produce solid rocket fuel.” Solid-fuel rockets can be fired at short notice.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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