BAGHDAD — While Iraq affirmed its commitment to the agreement with Iran to disarm the Iranian opposition based in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Tehran stressed the need for Iraq to fully implement the agreement to disarm those groups, which it described as "terrorist and separatist."
Observers said that the agreement has not yet been fully implemented, and that what has been implemented is the part related to keeping these groups away from the border strip between the two countries.
For its part, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry confirmed securing the entire border with Iran and keeping the Iranian Kurdish opposition parties away from the border strip between the two countries in northern Iraq.
Ministry spokesman Ahmed Al-Sahaf told Al Jazeera Net that the Iraqi government has begun implementing measures to secure the common border with Iran in coordination with the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq.
Al-Sahhaf added that this was done under the agreement concluded between the two parties "clearly defined", and in accordance with Iraq's commitment to its constitution, which affirms that "Iraqi territory shall not be used as headquarters or corridor to cause damage and harm to any of the neighboring countries".
At the end of August, Baghdad and Tehran announced the signing of a security agreement to dismantle Iranian Kurdish opposition camps in the Kurdistan region on the border with Iran.
The agreement stipulates that Tehran will stop its military operations inside the Iraqi border towns, in exchange for Baghdad dismantling the gatherings of those opposition, keeping them away from the border with Iran, and handing them over those wanted by them.
Under the agreement, Tehran demands that the Baghdad government disarm opposition organizations and activists in northern Iraq until September 19.
According to the High Committee for the Implementation of the Security Agreement between Iraq and Iran, all Iranian opposition headquarters on the border separating the two countries have been evacuated.
Opposition elements stationed at those headquarters were also removed after being disarmed, granted refugee status, and replaced by Iraqi border guards.
Iraq says border security is a shared responsibility with Iran (Reuters-Archive)
Teams to verify
In remarks to Iranian television last Friday, Iranian Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri said that what he called terrorist and separatist groups in Iraq have moved away from the border with his country, and that the security agreement between the two countries, which was decided to end its implementation until last Tuesday, provides for the complete disarmament of those groups.
Bagheri called for the full implementation of the agreement signed by the secretaries of the Iranian and Iraqi National Security Councils about 6 months ago, and stressed the need to completely disarm and expel them from Iraq.
Iran's armed forces "will wait for some time and send teams to verify the disarmament of these groups and then decide on what to do", he said.
Silence of the opposition
For his part, the head of the opposition Kurdistan Sarbesti Party, Arif Bawa Jani, said that the opposition decided "to remain silent now in order to preserve the security of Iraq and the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and we do not want to be part of the problem, and we will talk later."
Jani stressed, for Al Jazeera Net, that all Iranian opposition political parties "libertarian and not parties or sectarian or religious movements, which are of one Kurdish nationality."
Its existence dates back decades, he said, "and it is not new or emerging as the Iranian authorities claim."
For his part, Iraqi security expert Fadel Abu Ragheef believes that the disarmament of Iranian armed opposition groups may be "partial, and in specific geographical areas, according to the Iraqi-Turkish experience with regard to the Turkish Kurdistan Workers' Party, in addition to Iraq transferring these groups to other areas, stripping their weapons and issuing strict sentences on the use of weapons."
Abu Ragheef tells Al Jazeera Net that the process of organizing these groups will be more important than disarming them, "and there may be violent reactions from the Iranian side in the event of non-implementation of the agreement by those groups, especially the parties "Komala" and "Free Life Kurdistan opposition." He said the agreement "will go smoothly but not quietly."
Kurdish writer and political analyst Saman Noah said the security agreement included the dismantling of the Iranian Kurdish opposition camps in the Kurdistan region, disarming their fighters, removing the gathering centers of that opposition from the border with Iran, and handing them over wanted persons, in exchange for Tehran stopping its military operations inside the region.
Noah adds to Al Jazeera Net, that the first point was implemented to dismantle the camps, disarm some of their weapons and keep their fighting elements away from the border, while the point related to the establishment of new camps for them in areas far from the border and perhaps even outside the region, is still under discussion.
Iranian Kurdish forces change positions after earlier Iranian bombing (Getty Images)
The political analyst sees the possibility of reaching a "specific settlement on the distribution of refugees," considering that the most difficult point is related to the extradition of wanted persons, "These are refugees in Iraq according to the laws, and it is impossible to extradite them to Iran, especially since they will then face death sentences because they are armed opponents."
All these pressures are "propaganda to say that the regime has achieved a victory in this file, amid the economic, social and political crises the country is suffering from and in light of the danger of renewed popular demonstrations", he said.
According to the political analyst, there is "a fact that everyone is trying to hide, which is that for more than two decades these opposition forces have not carried out any operations inside Iran, and their fighters did not pose a threat to infiltrate across the border and launch attacks, and that their numbers are small and their armament is mostly light, and therefore there is no military impact or threat to them inside Iran."
The only party that fights Iran and sometimes launches operations inside it "is the PJAK, which is loyal to the PKK, and these are located in areas that are not under the authority of the Kurdistan Region, and therefore are not covered by the agreement, whether in terms of handing over weapons or removing them from the border to other areas", he said.
It is noteworthy that the Iranian opposition parties in Iraqi Kurdistan, which Tehran accuses of carrying out armed operations inside its territory, belong to areas of Iranian Kurdistan such as Kurdistan province, Kermanshah and Ilam province.
Iranian Kurdish dissidents have migrated to Iraq to form an opposition on the border between the two countries, and despite belonging to a single nationality, they have multiple political backgrounds, many of which hold leftist ideas.
The most prominent of these parties include the Kurdistan Democratic Party (Hadak), the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), the Dawa and Islah Group, the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK), as well as the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), and the Khabat and Komala parties.