US ‘condemns’ Iranian threats, military action against Kurdistan Region
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – “The United States stands behind the full sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Iraq,” a State Department spokesperson told Kurdistan 24, in response to a question concerning Iran’s latest threats against the Kurdistan Region, which include massing troops along the border.
“We condemn Iran’s threats and violations of Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the spokesperson added.
Iran’s threats against the Kurdistan Region come as widespread protests in Iran continue into their second month. The unrest was triggered by the death on Sept. 16 of a young, Kurdish woman, Jinna (Mahsa) Amini, while she was detained in the custody of Tehran’s so-called morality police for not wearing a headscarf properly.
As President Joe Biden explained on Friday, after citing his long experience in foreign affairs, “It stunned me what” her death has “awakened in Iran,” which “I don’t think will be quieted in a long, long time.”
Read More: Biden hails Iranian protestors; Blinken meets with civil society activists
US Shifting Focus From Renewing Nuclear Accord to Supporting Human Rights in Iran
As long as the top US priority with regard to Iran was restoring the Iranian nuclear accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it constituted a significant reason for US restraint regarding Iranian aggression in the Middle East, including its attacks on the Kurdistan Region.
The administration was reluctant to pick any fight with Iran that might be avoided. But that inhibition looks to be fading, because of two factors. One is the widespread, ongoing protests in Iran. The second is the failure—during over a year of negotiations—to make any substantial progress toward concluding a new agreement on limiting Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Reviving the Iranian nuclear deal is “not our focus right now,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told journalists on Wednesday.
Despite earlier optimism from the European Union (EU), which had acted as a mediator between the US and Iran, “The Iranians have made very clear that this is not a deal that they have been prepared to make,” Price said. “Iran’s demands are unrealistic,” and “they go well beyond the scope of the JCPOA.”
“So right now our focus,” Price stated, “is on the remarkable bravery and courage that the Iranian people are exhibiting through their peaceful demonstrations, through their exercise of their universal right to freedom of assembly and to freedom of expression.”
That position angers Tehran, as one would expect. In the extreme, it could lead to the overthrow of the regime, which is, basically, what the protestors are demanding.
Thus, on Sunday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi lashed out at Washington, invoking language of thirty years ago, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini denounced the US as “the Great Satan” and held 52 US diplomats hostage for 444 days.
“The American president, who allows himself through his comments to incite chaos, terror and destruction in another country,” Raisi said, “should be reminded of the eternal words of the founder of the Islamic Republic, who called America the Great Satan.”
European Union Follows Suit
The EU has come to the same conclusion as Washington, although its foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, in the last phase of negotiations this summer over renewing the JCPOA, had been the single, most active, and energetic promoter of continuing to talk, even after the US began to develop serious doubts.
Read More: Iran nuclear talks end after just two days, as doubts grow about effort
On Monday, as Borrell arrived in Luxembourg for an EU Foreign Ministers meeting, he acknowledged that there would be no conclusion to the JCPOA talks at present.
”I don't expect any move” he told journalists.
Instead, the EU, like the US, is now focused on other issues, including the regime’s dismal human rights record. On Monday, it added new sanctions, for Tehran’s suppression of the protests triggered by Amini’s untimely death.