TEHRAN (AFP) – Iranian security forces have killed three Kurdish rebels in the western province of Kordestan, the government daily Iran said on Thursday.
“Three armed members of the PJAK terrorist group were killed in Kamyaran county, Kordestan province,” the report said, without specifying when the incident took place.
The rebels were identified as “nationals of a neighbouring country.”
Iran’s Kordestan, Kermanshah and West Azarbaijan provinces, which border northern Iraq, have substantial Kurdish populations.
The Kurdish rebel group PJAK (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan), which is linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighting the Turkish army, has been behind a string of deadly attacks in northwestern Iran in recent months.
Iran has repeatedly accused the United States of seeking to stir up ethnic unrest by giving material support to PJAK and outlawed rebel groups in other sensitive border regions.
Iran has echoed Turkey’s frustration over the failure of the authorities in northern Iraq to crack down on Kurdish rebels, but says it wants a peaceful end to the standoff.
Tehran does not back Ankara’s threats of military action in northern Iraq, where both PJAK and the PKK have bases from which they launch cross-border attacks into Iran and Turkey.