Thursday, August 30, 2007

Iraq says Iran continues shelling despite protest

Above: A PJAK camp 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 months. Two weeks ago 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 has continued to fire shells into northern Iraq despite protests from Baghdad, threatening relations between the two neighbours, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said on Thursday.

Iraqi Kurdish officials have complained about cross-border shelling since mid-August. Cross-border skirmishes also occasionally occur as Iraq's neighbours Turkey and Iran battle Kurdish separatist rebels operating from bases in Iraq's mountainous northeastern region of Kurdistan.

"On the 28th of this month we summoned the Iranian ambassador and delivered a memorandum about shelling across the Iraqi border. We called at that time for Iran to immediately halt this operation because it is harming relations between the two countries," Zebari told a news conference.

"According to information we have received, the shelling is continuing today in Arbil (province). We again call on the Iranian government to immediately stop this military operation."

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet

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