The Iranian Foreign Ministry warned on October 4 that its “strategic patience” with what it described as anti-Iranian terrorist groups operating in the Iraqi Kurdistan region had come to an end (Pars Today, October 5). The remarks followed threats by both Iran’s top military commander, Mohammad Bagheri, and minister of intelligence, Esmaeil Khatib, of intensified Iranian military activity in Iraqi Kurdistan if the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iraqi government continued to refuse to confront these anti-Iran groups (Tehran Times, September 25).
In recent years, Turkey has also intensified its military presence in northern Iraq to target the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) by establishing up to 40 military bases and pushing its buffer zone deeper into KRG territory (The New Arab, June 18).  Compared to this, Iran’s military footprint in Iraqi Kurdistan has remained low-profile. However, with Iran now mimicking the “either you do it, or we will” rhetoric used by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan regarding Turkey’s extensive military operations against the PKK, it appears that Iran could be laying the groundwork for a similar large-scale military intervention of its own in KRG territory (Shafaq, June 2).