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TEHRAN: Iran reacted favourably Monday to neighbouring Iraq’s decision to redeploy federal guards along its border, after the Islamic Republic launched missile and drone strikes against Kurdish-Iranian groups’ bases in northern Iraq.

Since nationwide protests erupted in Iran more than two months ago, Iranian officials have accused exiled Iranian-Kurdish opposition groups, and Western powers, of stoking the unrest and the Islamic republic has repeatedly launched cross-border strikes.

Turkey more than a week ago also began air strikes targeting Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Last Wednesday the Iraqi government said it planned “to redeploy Iraqi border guards… along the border with Iran and Turkey”, an announcement which appeared to respond in particular to Iran.

Tehran protests after US football body posts modified Iran flag

Tehran had publicly urged such a move.

“We welcome this decision,” Tehran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Nasser Kanani said at his weekly press conference on Monday.

Ongoing demonstrations in Iran were sparked by the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who had been arrested by Tehran’s morality police.

Iranian-Kurdish rebel groups have for decades sought refuge in northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region.

Though they previously waged an insurgency against the clerical state in Iran, the groups have largely abandoned combat activities in more recent years.

The borders of autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan are currently guarded by the peshmerga Kurdish regional forces. They work in the area under the direction of the Iraqi federal government’s defence ministry.

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