Iran renews attacks on Kurdish groups in Iraq as protests continue

Revolutionary Guard forces shell Erbil province, blaming armed Kurdish organisations for stoking unrest

Female demonstrators outside the UN offices in Erbil hold up pictures of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died in the custody of Iranian authorities. AFP
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Iranian shells fell on Kurdish areas in northern Iraq on Monday morning, state media has confirmed, the latest of several attacks in the area as Iran is gripped by protests.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps used drones and artillery to attack the headquarters of Iranian Kurdish “terrorist groups” based across the border, state news outlet IRNA reported.

The attack was in response to “recent actions” by the Kurdish groups in Iraq, it said. Tehran has accused them of fanning anti-regime protests which have swept across the country following the death of Mahsa Amini. IRGC forces have struck the same area several times in recent days.

Iraqi Kurdish media said the attack took place in Erbil’s Sidakan area, which lies close to the Iranian border.

The region’s mountainous areas are often subjected to attacks from both Iran and Turkey, who view Kurdish armed groups based there as a threat to their own security. Since 1992, local civilians have abandoned hundreds of villages across the Kurdish region amid regular offensives.

Amini died in police custody after being arrested for allegedly wearing her headscarf too loosely. Her death has sparked protests across the country and beyond, including in the Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil.

Amini was from the city of Saqqez in Iran’s Kurdistan province, which neighbours Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. The protests sparked by her death are the largest the country has seen since 2019, prompting Tehran leaders to threaten “decisive action” against demonstrators.

At least 41 people have died since the unrest began, including protesters and members of Iran's security forces, according to an official toll.

Updated: September 27, 2022, 6:15 AM