Iran has moved troops, tanks and artillery to border areas with Iraqi Kurdistan, just days ahead of the 19 September deadline agreed with Baghdad to disarm and relocate Iraq-based Iranian-Kurdish separatists. Tehran accuses these armed groups of conducting cross-border attacks and inciting secessionism in its predominately Kurdish northwestern region: it even claims they had a role in last year’s protests which erupted after the death of Iranian-Kurd Mahsa Amini in police custody.

Iran’s IRGC has stepped up drone and missile attacks on targets in Iraqi Kurdistan over the past year, and under the agreement the separatist groups will be moved deeper inside Iraqi territory. Iranian state news agency Tasnim reported on 13 September that the removal process had begun: Iraqi foreign minister Fouad Hussein visited Tehran on the same day urging Iran to refrain from military action. (CONTINUED - 137 WORDS)