Iran would not dare attack if Mossad was in Erbil: Masoud Barzani

Dilan Sirwan

Feb. 29, 2024 • 3 min read
Image of Iran would not dare attack if Mossad was in Erbil: Masoud Barzani

In a Tuesday interview, KDP leader Masoud Barzani refuted Iran's justification for the January 15 attacks on Erbil, dismissing claims of a Mossad base in the region as 'baseless'.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region of Iraq - Iran would not dare to attack Erbil if there was indeed a Mossad base, leader of the Kurdistan Region’s ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) said in an interview on Tuesday.

“I am sure that if there was a Mossad base, they would not dare to attack it,” KDP leader said in an interview with Monte Carlo on Tuesday, referring to continuous Iranian claims to have targeted Israeli intelligence bases in the Kurdistan Region.

"These are baseless accusations. Iran knows, more than anyone else, that these accusations are baseless,” Barzani said.

Multiple Iranian ballistic missiles and one-way attack drones were directed at Erbil by Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on January 15.

A number of the rockets landed on the private residence of Kurdish businessman Peshraw Dizayee, flattening his house, killing him and his one year old daughter, and wounding other members of his family.

The IRGC claimed responsibility for the attacks, adding that they had targeted an Israeli intelligence spot in Erbil, a claim that has been denied by Iraqi and Kurdish officials repeatedly.

"Since 2020 and 2021, Erbil, as a city and province, has been subjected to 143 drone or ballistic missile attacks by Iran or its followers. These crimes are always justified by claiming the presence of international intelligence centers, specifically Mossad or Kurdish opposition in Kurdistan,” Barzani said.

“Iran's accusations are truly baseless. We never wanted, at any time, for relations to tense with Iran. However, we also wonder why Iran chose this approach,” he added.

The Iraqi government immediately after the attack sent over a team led by National Security Advisor Qasem al-Araji to investigate the site of the attack, who concluded that the house targeted was no intelligence base.

This was not the first time he had made such a conclusion, nor is it the first time Iran had targeted the house of a Kurdish businessman inside Erbil.

In March 2022, under the same pretext, IRGC fired a dozen ballistic missiles at Erbil, some of which landed on the house of Sheikh Baaz, another renowned Kurdish businessman. Their reason was also targeting Israeli intelligence at the time, but that claim was also refuted by Iraq and the KRG.

In a five point letter to UN Secretary General and the President of the UN Security Council on January 16 which The New Region has obtained a copy of, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said that the Iraqi government “stresses that this attack constitutes a flagrant violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq and the security of the Iraqi people.”

The Iraqi foreign minister’s letter was worded strongly at Iran and its claims towards the presence of Israeli bases at the location targeted.

“Claims about the presence on Iraqi territory of parties hostile to the Iranian side can in no way justify launching ballistic missiles,” the letter read.



Profile picture of Dilan Sirwan
Author Dilan Sirwan

Dilan Sirwan is an Erbil-based Kurdish journalist covering Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. He focuses on political, economic, and social issues.


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