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Thursday, August 23, 2007         Reader Comments

Iran leaflets threaten Kurds in northern Iraq with 'cleansing'

BAGHDAD Iran has demanded that Iraqi Kurds leave their border villages.

Kurdish sources said Iran's military has dropped leaflets into Iraqi Kurdish villages that call for their immediate evacuation. The leaflets warned the Kurds of impending Iranian military strikes.

"The authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran will work on cleansing this area," the leaflet said.

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On Aug. 20, Kurdish sources said an Iranian military helicopter was shot down by Kurdish insurgents near the Iranian-Iraqi-Turkish border. The helicopter was said to contain at least six Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officers assigned to direct attacks against the Kurds.

The leaflets were distributed in the northern province of Irbil on Aug. 19 as Iranian troops began deployment along the Iraqi border. Kurdish sources said Iran appeared ready to launch an offensive against Kurdish insurgents from the so-called Party of Freedom of Life, which demands autonomy for Kurds in Iran.

The sources said Iranian forces were deployed near the Iraqi town of Haj Omran. The military operation was said to have been coordinated with Turkey.

"Our enemies, mainly the Americans, are trying to plant security hurdles in our country," the Iranian leaflet said. "They achieved this through using agents in the [Iraqi] areas of Kandil and Khaneera inside the Kurdish region."

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