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Two Border Guards Killed In Northwestern Iran

Iran -- Iranian soldier (Iranian Border Security)

In a gunfight at a border post near the northwestern city of Sardasht, two Iranian border guards were shot June 5.

First lieutenant Yousef Piraneh and warrant officer Mahboub Qorbani were killed in the fighting, which broke out at 11 p.m. local time.

Though no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, border posts in the area, which borders Iraq, have frequently come under attack in the past, mainly by members of the PJAK militant group.

PJAK, or the “Kurdistan Free Life Party” (Partiya Jiyana Azad a Kurdistanê in Kurdish‎) is a Kurdish political and militant organization which has waged an intermittent armed struggle since 2004 against the Iranian government, insisting on self-determination for Kurds in Iranian Kurdistan. The Islamic Republic’s authorities believe that PJAK operates in tandem with Turkey’s PKK Kurdish militant group.

Iran’s southeastern provinces of Sistan and Baluchestan, as well as West Azarbaijan and Kurdistan provinces have been the scene of frequent armed clashes between Iranian security forces and armed dissident groups, including the Baluchi militant group Jeish al-Adl (Army of Justice), PJAK, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), in recent years.

“Last week, Iranian security forces disbanded a terrorist cell in the southeast of the country, seizing a considerable amount of weapons and munitions from the group,” Iran’s state-run English language channel Press TV reported.

“The clash between security forces and terrorists took place near the border region of Saravan in Sistan-and-Baluchestan province,” Press TV said. Back in April, Iranian security forces also announced that they “discovered and captured a large cache of explosives” in Sistan-and-Baluchestan province, Press TV added.

As a rule, Iranian state media refers to all armed groups as terrorists.

None of these reports could be independently confirmed.