IRGC officers killed in clashes with PJAK, IRGC commander talks about separatist movements

 The Iranian media this week reported on the deaths of three IRGC officers in northwest Iran — presumably in clashes with the Iranian Kurdish rebel group Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) — Iran’s version of the PKKFars News reported that IRGC Ground Force general Hamid Tabatabai was killed on a mission in the “Northwest of Iran”, while IRNA reported that one Saeed Finayei was killed “in Western Iran”.

The Fars and IRNA reports did not mention PJAK, however Mehr News reported that the “Martyr Ghahari Saeed” was killed in a direct hit by the PJAK.

Although Iran brokered a ceasefire with PJAK in 2011, more clashes have since taken place.

In January, PJAK leader Haji Ahmadi said that the group was much stronger since a 2011 ceasefire with Iran, while Tehran was “collapsing under international sanctions”.

Ahmadi also said that ethnic separatist movements in Iran were growing.

 He said that the Iranians continue to arrest or execute Kurds because they are afraid of the different ethnic groups in Iran.

“In the beginning, only the Kurds in Iran wanted their rights, but now all the people in Iran want their rights,” he added.

Ahmadi said that international sanctions are biting hard on Iran’s rulers. “There is nothing that can stop the destruction of the Iranian regime, either economically, politically, or internationally,” he added.

“We hear Iranian politicians say that the embargo can’t stop Iran. But now they are ready for many compromises. Their only wish is that the embargo is ended. The international community knows this,” according to Ahmadi.

The news of the IRGC deaths comes after a report by researchers at the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) said that PJAK operations in Iran had “nearly ceased”, pointing to a 2012 report by the Jamestown Foundation that suggested Iran had forged a strategic alliance with the PKK in an attempt to increase PKK operations in Turkey and re-stabilize Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

 IRGC Ground Force Commander says ‘neighboring countries’ sponsoring terror in Iran

This new evidence of more clashes between Iran and the PJAK comes as Iran faces a resurgence of Sunni separatism in its southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province, where new Sunni jihad movements particularly Harakat Ansar Iran (HAI) have openly expressed support for jihadis outside of Iran.

Weeks after PJAK leader Ahmadi’s allusion to growing ethnic conflicts and separatist movements in Iran, IRGC Ground Forces commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour commented on IRGC developments in southeast and northwest Iran, and said that the IRGC was establishing  local forces in those areas.

Pakpour said that as a result of the IRGC’s growing defense and security operations in the northwest and southeast, the regions were secure.

In the security dimension, responsibility of the country’s northwest, west, and southeastern regions have been given to IRGC Ground Forces, and since 2010 we have undertaken operational and infrastructure projects in the northwest that resulted in the high level of security we have enjoyed this year, and it has been similar in the west as well.

Currently in the provinces of Sistan and Baluchestan, south of Kerman, and south of Khorasan we have units and combat groups whose members are drawn from the indigenous population, and IRGC guides and supports these people…. In the northwest of the country we have also implemented this, and the Martyr Kaveh bases that we have established are constituted by indigenous people of the region and this has helped regional security significantly.”

Development and eliminating cultural and social issues are other security dimensions of the IRGC, and in my opinion, the weight of the IRGC Quds Base’s popular assistance in the southeast of the country is far heavier than the military dimensions.”

Pakpour also repeated accusations that neighboring countries are funding and sponsoring separatist movements in Iran — and, significantly, said that some of the “terrorists” had confessed to having received financial support from other countries in interrogations.

Unfortunately some some neighboring countries have a role in supporting terrorists, for which we have evidence, and some of these terrorists confessed to this matter during interrogations.”



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