Conflict & Justice

Iran says senior security officer killed in border clashes

At least six soldiers of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, including a senior officer, have been killed in clashes with ethnic Kurdish fighters on the border with Iraq today, Al Jazeera reported.

The senior official, Abbas Asemi, is the most senior comander of the Guards in the holy city of Qom in southwestern Iran's southwest, opposition blogs have claimed.

"General Asemi of the Qom branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was killed along with five of his comrades in clashes with terrorist rebels of the PJAK [Party of Free Life of Kurdistan] in the Sardasht area," a state news agency said on Friday, without giving any further details.

Iranian troops launched a major offensive last week against PJAK fighters operating out of rear-bases in neighbouring Iraq, according to Al Jazeera.

The autonomous regional government in Kurdistan demanded on Tuesday that Iran respect the border after a Guards commander said Iranian forces had taken "full control" of three PJAK camps inside Iraq, the AFP reported.

In Tehran, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards ground forces Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour demanded Baghdad and the Kurdish regional authorities prevent the rebels from attacking Iran from Iraqi territory.

The fighting had already left at least two Guards  killed and three wounded, according to security officials in Tehran. PJAK has said two of its fighters were killed and four wounded.

Iranian forces have repeatedly shelled border districts of Iraq's Kurdish region, targeting PJAK bases.

More than 50 have died in the past weeks in clashes between the Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guards (IRRG) and Kurdish armed rebels known as the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), a Kurdish newspaper, the Kurdistan Tribune reported.

These clashes followed a month of shelling of the border of the Kurdistan region by the Islamic Republic of Iran, forcing the inhabitants to evacuate, the Kurdish newspaper added.