Barzani renews call on Iran to engage in peace talks with Kurdish factionsBy Rudaw [ltr]18 minutes ago [/ltr]
PDKI Peshmerga in the Mokrian region. Photo: PDKI/Twitter
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish President Masoud Barzani has urged Iran to reopen negotiations with the country's Kurdish opposition groups and pledged support for earlier calls on the Islamic Republic to include Kurdish factions in the political process.
Barzani also rejected Tehran's previous remarks about Kurdistan Region's influence over armed Kurdish groups opposed to the Islamic Republic.
"We are not responsible for the policies of other parties and cannot impose our opinion on them," the Kurdish president told BBC's Persian Service in an interview that will be aired later this week.
"Nothing can be achieved through war, this is why it is important for the Islamic Republic of Iran and other groups to engage in talks and find a peaceful solution," he added.
Relations between Tehran and Erbil hit a low point this year after Iranian officials accused the Kurdistan Region of influencing Kurdish groups in their resumption of armed conflict with the Islamic Republic.
The Kurdish president has since postponed a trip to Tehran several times after he was officially invited by the Islamic Republic, an indication of strained ties between the two countries.
Rahim Safavi, a senior advisor to Iran's supreme leader, also accused Tehran's regional rival Saudi Arabia of providing arms to the opposition groups through the Kurdistan Region, a claim that was rejected by Erbil at the time.
Iran's leading Kurdish opposition groups, the Kurdistan Democratic Party-Iran (PDKI) and the Iranian Kurdish Communist Party (Komala), have been based in Iraq's Kurdish region since the early 1980s after they were banned in Iran following the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
The two groups fought government armed forces in Iranian Kurdistan in the 1980s during the war between Iran and its neighboring Iraq.
Since the early 1990s, the Kurdish groups based inside Iraq's Kurdistan Region have abandoned armed struggle as part of a deal between Erbil and Tehran that prohibits opposition groups from launching attacks on Iranian targets.
But fatal clashes resumed between the KDPI and Iranian troops earlier this year after the Kurdish group said it would mobilize its forces inside Iran's Kurdish regions.
Six Kurdish Peshmerga and four government troops were killed in the fight that took place in a village near the Kurdish town of Shino on June 16. At least two other deadly standoffs between the two groups have killed dozens more on both sides since April this year.
"We want security and stability to be preserved between us and our neighbors," Barzani said and added that, "it is true that the KDPI are here [in the Kurdistan Region], but they have their forces also inside Iran," he added.