Tensions between Iran and Kurdish militants over its border with Iraq are rising, raising the chances of a direct confrontation in an area long seen as a geopolitical flashpoint.
Iran's Foreign Ministry has directly threatened Kurdish militants in camps in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Tehran also set a deadline for Iraq to fulfil a security agreement the two countries reached in March 2022.
It sets the scene for a potential escalation of the military stand-off over the border regions with intricate political, demographic, ethnic and sectarian dynamics.
A non-negotiable deadline was set for 19 September.
Under the March 2022 agreement, the Iraqi government was to disarm Iranian Kurdish parties within its territory and relocate their camps away from the border. It was also supposed to prohibit Kurdish interference from Iraq in Iran’s internal political and security affairs.
Iran intends to take direct military action against Kurdish parties across the border in Iraq if the conditions are not met. Tehran views the matter as one of national security. There has been speculation that Iran could resort to drone air strikes or missile attacks on the Kurdish camps.
Iraq pledges to abide by deal
On its part, Iraq has promised to abide by the conditions of the deal with Iran.
Government spokesman Basim al-Awadi emphasised that it was important for Iraq to keep its promises, writing on official social media channels about the need to "dismantle and remove encampments along the Iranian borders."
He also underlined Iraq's foreign policy principles, emphasising that it meant no harm to its neighbours while backing arrangements that uphold its own sovereignty while keeping its borders safe from potential aggressions.