Iranian border guard killed in fight with armed group near Iraq

The commander did not identify the militant group. (AFP/File)
Updated 18 March 2019
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Iranian border guard killed in fight with armed group near Iraq

  • Iranian forces were guarding the border against smuggling, illegal immigration and militant infiltration
  • Iran’s commander of border guards said the soldier was killed by an armed group

LONDON: An Iranian guard was killed in a fight with an armed group near the western border with Iraq, local media reported on Monday.
Iran’s armed forces have been stepping up their presence along its borders to prevent smuggling, illegal immigration and militant infiltration.
“Last night around 9 p.m., the border guards who were trying to stop armed smugglers entering the country had a fight with armed bandits,” Tasnim news agency quoted Kiumars Sheikhi, commander of the border guards in Kermanshah province as saying.
He said a member of the Baneh county border patrol had been killed in the fight.
Sheikhi said members of the armed group were planning a sabotage operation in Iran, but did not give details or say whether they were connected to militant groups.
In July, militants killed 10 Iranian Revolutionary Guards in an attack on a post on the Iraqi border, an area where armed opposition Kurdish groups are active.
Daesh militants have also entered Iran via the border with Iraq, which is left porous by poor coordination between Iranian and Iraqi security forces.
Attacks against police officers and border guards are also common along Iran’s border with Pakistan. A suicide bomber from a Sunni militant group killed 27 members of the elite Revolutionary Guards last month in a southeastern region which has seen a rise in attacks by Sunni militants based in Pakistan.
Border guards trying to defend against militant groups in the impoverished provinces have faced criticism for shooting at smugglers.


Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

Updated 23 April 2019
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Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

  • President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a foreign terrorist group
  • Tehran reacted to the designation by naming the US Central Command a terrorist organization

DUBAI: Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday requiring the government take firm steps to respond to “terrorist actions” by US forces, state TV reported, retaliating against Washington’s blacklisting of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist group, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on US forces.
Tehran reacted to the designation, which took effect on April 15, by naming the US Central Command (CENTCOM) a terrorist organization and the US government a sponsor of terrorism.
“The bill authorizes the government to take firm and retaliatory measures against terrorist activities of American forces that endangers Iran’s interests,” TV reported.
“The government should use legal, political and diplomatic measures in response to the American actions.”
Highly loyal to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the IRGC is a powerful force which controls much of the Iranian economy and wields political influence in the country’s faction-ridden clerical establishment.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency said some 168 lawmakers out of 210 present at the parliament voted for the bill.
Tensions have been on the rise between Tehran and Washington since last year, when Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.
In recent years, there have been periodic confrontations between the IRGC and US military in the Gulf.
The new chief commander of the IRGC Hossein Salami, appointed after the US blacklisting, has warned in the past that Iran could use its cruise and ballistic missiles and drones, mines, speedboats, and missile launchers in the Gulf area to confront the United States.
The Trump administration, which has taken a hard line on Iran, said in a statement on Monday that the president has decided not to reissue waivers in May allowing importers to buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the heightening economic pressure on Iran showed that Washington was in panic.
“Escalating #EconomicTERRORISM against Iranians exposes panic & desperation of US regime — and chronic failures of its client co-conspirators,” Zarif Tweeted on Tuesday.
A commander of Iran’s IRGC said on Monday that Tehran would block all exports through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if Tehran is barred from using the waterway, where a fifth of global oil consumption passes on its way from Middle East producers to major markets.