Kurdish leader warns Iran could target others with missile strikes

Khalid Azizi, the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran’s (KDP-I) former Secretary General and a survivor of Iran’s recent missile strike in Koya, on Monday warned regional countries that Iran could strike them as well rather than focus only on Kurds.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - Khalid Azizi, the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran’s (KDP-I) former Secretary General and a survivor of Iran’s recent missile strike in Koya, on Monday warned regional countries that Iran could strike them as well rather than focus solely on the Kurds.

Iran carried out a cross-border missile attack on the headquarters of two Iranian Kurdish opposition parties in the Kurdistan Region’s town of Koya, reportedly killing 15 people and injuring 42 others.

At an event organized by the Center for Kurdish Progress in the United Kingdom, Azizi, who survived the missile attack, cautioned that Iran’s Kurds are not the only possible targets of Tehran’s missile strikes.

"They would like to send a message to the US, as a superpower in the region, that the Islamic regime has the capability to send missiles if needed to almost everywhere in the Middle East," he explained.

Fars News Agency, affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), published a video Tuesday threatening the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with missile attacks, reported AP.

The video, which was later deleted, comes as Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, blamed Riyadh and Abu Dhabi for the mass shooting in the city of Ahvaz on Saturday, which killed at least 25 people and wounded over 60 more.

Commander of the IRGC, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, in October 2017 warned Iran could target the US, and noted that the 2,000 km range of Iran’s missiles was deemed to be "sufficient" because “most of American interests and forces” lie within that radius.

But Iran first chose to target the KDP-I on Sep. 8, to send a message to its rivals. 

"Since we do not have any missiles to send back to Tehran, and since we are not a country that can defend ourselves, we are just a party that can raise the voice of the Kurdish people of Iran," Azizi affirmed.

The Kurdish leader suggested that this could be the early days of Iranian attempts to create external crises in the Middle East and distract the country’s population from the economic decline and looming US sanctions, with the Iranian rial continuing to slide.

"They are trying to create an enemy for the Iranian people and tell them 'we have to defend ourselves,' but the Islamic regime is not defending Iranian people; It is just trying to survive a little bit more," Azizi argued. "They are trying to get out of this [mess] by creating instability in the region and possibly start a war," he asserted.

"What will happen in the future if Iran does not face international condemnation? What will happen if any of these missiles are equipped with chemical weapons? What will happen if any of these missiles come down in Baghdad, Saudi Arabia, or Israel?" he challenged.

"Because the Iranian regime is facing this deep crisis, it will do whatever possible to create more crises outside of [its] borders." 

However, Azizi said the Iranian Kurds were not intimidated by the tactics of the Iranian government, pointing to the widespread strikes in Iranian Kurdistan on Sept. 12.

"Iran will probably target our headquarters in the future, as it has done before, but Iran cannot target some 10 million Kurdish people with its missiles." 

"Missile strikes by the Iranian government against the Kurdish people and our party [will solve nothing]," he concluded.

Editing by Nadia Riva