At this point, the Iranian military presence has reached fewer than
three kilometers inside Iraq. Yawar said the Iranian incursion was launched
after several days of artillery shelling of an area east of Irbid, the
capital of the Kurdish Regional Government.
Officials said the Iranian military has begun constructing a camp in
Iraq. They said Iranian military trucks were transporting building material
and equipment to the site.
"The [Iranian] forces have moved into the border area between two and
three kilometers," Yawar said. "We have informed the Iraqi border police and
Interior Ministry in Baghdad and hope the central government will take a
clear and firm position."
In May 2010, Iran was said to have launched an offensive against the
Party for Free Life in Kurdistan, or PEJAK, an arm of the Kurdish Workers
Party (PKK). Teheran has accused Kurdistan of serving as a safe haven of PEJAK.
So far, the Iraqi government has refused to acknowledge the Iranian
incursion. In January, Baghdad and Teheran engaged in a military standoff
when Iranian troops raided an oil field in eastern Iraq.
At the same time, Iran executed five convicted Kurdish insurgents on
charges of membership in PEJAK. Teheran has charged that the Kurdish
insurgents have been supported by British and U.S. intelligence.
On June 6, KRG called on Iran to withdraw its troops from Kurdistan.
Officials said Iran might have also conducted aerial reconnaissance over
"We express our deep concern over the continued shelling and violations
of the sovereignty of Iraqi territory in the Kurdistan region," KRG
spokesman Mahmoud Kawa said.