IRAQI KURDISTAN: A visit to the Iranian Consulate

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CPTnet
14 June 2012
IRAQI KURDISTAN: A visit to the Iranian Consulate

Christian
Peacemaker Teams-Iraqi Kurdistan accepted an invitation to the Iranian
Consulate in Sulaimani on 22 May. They brought with them the team’s latest
report, Disrupted Lives:
the effects of cross-border attacks by Turkey and Iran on Kurdish villages
.

It
was CPT’s first visit with Iranian diplomats in Iraqi Kurdistan since 2010, despite several attempts, and
the first at the Sulaimani Consulate. The team’s primary purpose was to deliver
the report, which documents harm to civilians from cross-border bombing and
shelling of villages in Iraqi Kurdistan.

First Consul Hamid Bodaghi was attentive and
showed interest in the report and CPT’s work. “Any question, any ambiguity
about Iran’s position, do not
hesitate to contact us,” he said.

Questioned about the need for shelling over
the border, Bodaghi said it was “natural and normal” for the Iranian government
to desire the safety of its citizens, that “every corner of the world” wanted
this as well.

 House in Pshdar district destroyed in 2009
bombing raid

 

When asked if the
shelling of villages was the most effective way to combat militia groups in
these areas, Bodaghi insisted that the border guards, largely made up of
locals, are able to distinguish “between civilians, smugglers and terrorists;
they know – they’re local,” suggesting that Iranian forces involved in the
attacks make no mistakes and harm no civilians.

He also said that villagers receive warnings
well in advance of potential shelling, so that they may remove themselves and
their animals from the area to safety. According to villagers, Iran never warns before a
shelling.

CPT Iraqi Kurdistan does not condone the violence perpetrated by Turkey and Iran against the Kurdish people.

CPT Iraqi Kurdistan does not
condone the U.N.-imposed sanctions against
Iran, which collectively punish the Iranian and
Kurdish people of
Iran.

CPT Iraqi Kurdistan does not
condone calls for “military action” against
Iran.

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