On August 27th, Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said the country’s security forces have disbanded two “terrorist” teams in the western parts of Iran.
PressTV cited Alavi who spoke to the IRIB News Agency. He said that the militant outfits were affiliated to hostile countries and were arrested through intelligence operations. He further said that one of the militant teams had 12 members who were identified and arrested by the Iranian Security Forces.
The minister also added that the other armed militant group entered the country to carry out acts of sabotage and terror, however they were disbanded before being able to act. Two militants were killed, and two others were injured in the clash with the security forces.
Alavi said a considerable number of weapons, including Kalashnikov rifles, grenades and communication equipment, was confiscated from the groups during the operation.
The groups the security forces have apprehended are most likely members of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI) or the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), who operate at the Iraqi-Iranian border. The Iranian Kurdish armed groups based in camps in Iraqi Kurdistan have mostly avoided major clashes with the Iranian security forces, after in 1996 Iran deployed hundreds of IRGC personnel with heavy guns to attack the bases of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran near Sulaimaniyah. But, as reported by al-Monitor, over the past three years, there have been renewed tensions and confrontations between Iranian Kurdish armed groups and Iranian authorities. In the case of PJAK, things have been particularly complicated. While there have been intermittent clashes between the group and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) since the fierce fighting of the summer of 2011, the parties have until recently avoided serious bloodshed.
As reported by al-Monitor, on July 11th and 14th the IRGC ambushed two PJAK units near the Iranian border towns Marivan and Paveh, leaving four fighters dead. This led to the recent increase in activity from Kurdish militants. PJAK accused local Kurdish villagers of collaborating with the IRGC. On July 15th, one alleged collaborator was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in his home near Marivan. Iranian media blamed the ambush on PJAK, however the group did not claim responsibility.
Al-Monitor reported that two days later, on July 17, unknown gunmen shot and killed a Kurdish activist close to PJAK in the city of Penjwin in Iraqi Kurdistan, across the border from Marivan. PJAK blamed the Iranian security forces, vowing revenge for the ambushes on July 11th and 14th, as well as the July 17th killing.
On July 21, a large PJAK force sneaked up on an IRGC outpost in the mountains near Marivan, killing at least 11 security personnel, wounding eight and blowing up a major arms cache.
Iran has vowed to retaliate and pursue armed groups based in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Iran also fights against Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) group, which it considers terrorist. In January, Iranian security forces disbanded a group of the MKO which had already carried out acts of sabotage during protests in some Iranian cities over rising prices and economic problems, as reported by Press TV.