Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Iran denies knowledge of warning leaflets

Left: Kurdish PJAK fighters near the Iraq-Iran border. Associated with the PKK, PJAK is the equivalent movement for Kurdish Iran. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed recently in the New Yorker magazine that American forces were supporting the PJAK movement as part of their strategy to destabilize the Tehran government. Cross-border shelling is not uncommon, and has been reported for the last few days. On Saturday Iranian state media reported the crash of a helicopter in the area which killed six. Iranian authorities said the crash was the result of bad weather but Kurdish rebels claimed the helicopter had been shot down.

Iran denied knowledge on Wednesday of any leaflets warning villagers in northeastern Iraq to evacuate ahead of an Iranian military offensive against Kurdish rebels there.

Kurdish authorities in northeastern Iraq said on Tuesday they were investigating the authenticity of such leaflets after villagers said they had seen them thrown from helicopters the previous day.

Residents said there were no identifying marks on the leaflets, written in Kurdish, apart from the words "The Islamic Republic of Iran" across the top and bottom.

Hundreds of villagers have fled their homes in Iraq's mountainous northeast while others hid in caves after what local authorities earlier this week said was days of intermittent shelling by Iran across the border.

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet

Related Link:
Leaflets said to warn of Iran move into north Iraq