Regarding the actions of armed groups based in the Iraqi Kurdistan region and Iran's right to self-defense against them to maintain its security and territorial integrity in accordance with international law, Ibrahim Rahimpour, former Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran, told Payam-e Eqtesad Online, that: Geographically Iran is neighbor 15 countries [7 on land and 8 though the sea], and in this regard, we have long borders and there are 15 neighbors with different ideas around our country.
"In the case of Iraq, we must pay attention to the fact that the central government officials do not have enough control and sovereignty over the Kurdish region, and it is natural that what is discussed in the meetings is just a matter of position and ultimately we do not see and effective move by the central government or the region's officials," Mr. Rahimpour added.
The former Deputy Foreign Minister stated: "So the only way forward for us, which is in accordance with international law and custom, is to negotiate directly with these groups or have an armed conflict with them."
Rahimpour continued: "At one time we had a similar problem with the Afghan government regarding the presence of the Taliban in their territory and their actions, and we saw that Kabul was not in control of its three provinces, so we negotiated with the Taliban ourselves and solved a part of our problems."
He added: "Regarding Iraq and the problems of groups such as Komala and PJAK, which also are long-standing groups in the region, we must look at the situation in Iraq in recent years and the role of this situation in arming and strengthening these groups through the support of Western governments and the Zionist regime."
The former Iranian deputy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized: "The region is not integrated and Barzanis and the Talibanis are two different tribes that share power and the central government does not have the necessary power in this region."
Rahimpour said: "With the situation that Iraq has gone through during these years, we cannot expect effective action from Baghdad against these groups, so we ourselves have to take appropriate and effective actions that are according to the international principles."
He continued: "For example, we can mention the action of the Turkish government in campaigning inside Iraq against terrorist groups to maintain its territorial integrity."
The veteran Iranian diplomat also stated: "Given the current situation and the counter-revolutionary activities that these groups are carrying out against Iran, we must act in accordance with international principles and the agreement of the parties."
Rahimpour stated that the recent actions of the Revolutionary Guards were in the same direction, adding: "When the central government is not able to control the situation, in fact and according to the agreements, it allows us to defend our territorial integrity by using military and security tools."
He concluded: "Our will and strength in dealing with these groups is very important in eliminating them, because given the situation in Iraq, it is futile to expect a proper response from the central government."
Reporter's code: 50101