[A VOA Persian report about joint drill of IRGC and Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, following independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan region.]
TV anchor says: Iraqi government forces move towards the city of Hawija. A video clip given to news agencies by Iraqi police shows that police unit is building a passageway over Tigris river, in the south-west of that city. Hawija is the last Iraqi city which is still controlled by ISIS. Meanwhile, more than 3 thousand people who are mainly women and children were moved to a village close to oil city of Kirk on Sunday, by military trucks of Kurdish Peshmerga. Before letting men enter the abovementioned camp, certain security measures were taken to make sure that they have no relations with ISIS.
TV anchor continues: Iranian armed forces held a joint military drill along Iranian borders with Iraqi Kurdistan region with Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces. This drill coincides with news regarding Baghdad’s efforts to control land borders of Iraqi Kurdistan region with Iran and Turkey. On the other hand, U.S. State Department warned Iran and Iraq against any joint military actions against Iraqi Kurdistan region. For more, Ali Javanmardi is with us from Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. Ali, what is the purpose of this drill and how is it different from the drill held last week in western Iran?
The reporter says: Shahram, this drill is in west and north-west borders of Iran with Iraqi Kurdistan. It is in Qasr-e Shirin, close to Parviz Khan gate of Iraqi Kurdistan, Bashmakh, close to Marivan in Iraqi Kurdistan and Tamarkeh of Piranshahr, which is in Haji Omran close to the border of Erbil with Iran. According to Brigadier-General Mohammad Pakpour, commander of IRGC’s Ground Forces, this drill aims at the security of borders. And it is called “Power”. And according to this IRGC commander, it is for creating sustainable security in borders. Its difference with the drill held one day before Iraqi Kurdistan’s referendum is that in that one only Iranian armed forces took part. But now Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces are also taking part in this drill – particularly certain groups of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, House of Khorasan, and paramilitary group of Nojaba, which are all Shiite paramilitary groups active under the name of Popular Mobilization Forces. Meanwhile, according to news published by media affiliated with the Iraqi government, this drill coincides with Iraqis saying that they want to take control of Iraqi borders with Iran. And that is why there is somehow tension here, even though this is what the media is saying, and officials of Iraqi Kurdistan have not said anything in this regard. Officials in Baghdad confirmed this 3 days ago, but haven’t said anything more in this regard after that. Meanwhile, U.S. State Department has expressed its concerns about any violent, military actions, and has recommended to Iran and Iraq that they shouldn’t take any military actions against Iraqi Kurdistan. Spokesperson of State Department Heather Nauert has reacted to this news, saying that “we are completely against any violent measures.”
TV anchor asks: Under these conditions, what has been the reaction of Iraqi Kurdistan? And particularly how is the condition of border gates of Iran with Iraqi Kurdistan now?
Reporter concludes: Shahram, Iraqi Kurdistan has shown no reaction and is just monitoring the situation. Only Peshmerga forces are on alert, and one of the border officials who is in charge of Garmian, close to Parviz Khan, has said that he has talked to Iranian officials on the phone. And they have told him that this drill is for creating security inside Iran, and they don’t intend to control border gates of Iraqi Kurdistan.