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Iran tightens border security to prevent ‘infiltration’


BAGHDAD (AP) — Iran has sent additional special forces units to strengthen its northern border with Iraq and clamp down on…

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iran has sent additional special forces units to bolster its northern border with Iraq and stop what it says is infiltration by Kurdish opposition groups, Iranian state media reported Friday.

General Mohammad Pakpour, commander of the ground forces of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guards, said units of “armored and special forces” had been deployed to the western and northwestern provinces to strengthen existing border security, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The deployment is aimed at preventing the infiltration and smuggling of weapons into the north by Kurdish opposition groups exiled to Iraq, who Tehran says are organizing anti-government protests across the country. It’s a claim Kurdish groups deny, and to date Iran has not provided any evidence to support it.

Iran has several military bases near the Iraqi border, and forces have been present there on a rotating basis for decades.

The troop movement also came after Iraq issued directives to increase security along its border to prevent further bombings by Iran, Iraqi military spokesman Maj. Gen. Yahya Rasool said in a statement. Kurdish opposition groups have bases in the northern region of Iraq, which is controlled by the Kurds.

Earlier this week, state media quoted Iranian officials as saying they had no plans to launch a ground military operation to root out opposition groups from the bases, despite allegedly threatening to do so during a visit by top general Esmail Ghani to Baghdad on last week.

Nationwide protests swept Iran in September after the death of a young woman who was detained by police for violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women. The protests have been one of the biggest challenges to Iran’s theocracy since the chaotic years following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Mahsa Amini, 22, died on September 16, three days after she was arrested by Iranian morality police. The Iranian government insists Amini was not mistreated during her detention, but her family says her body showed bruises and other signs of beatings after her detention.

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