According to an official of the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party, a few days before the Iranian missile strike on Erbil, two Iranian security officials in Baghdad had sent a threatening message to the Kurdistan Region through Hoshyar Zebari, a KDP official.
Former Iraqi Minister of Housing and Construction Bengin Rikani, a member of the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party, said in a televised interview that two Iranian security officials had met with Hoshyar Zebari in Baghdad a few days before the Iranian missile strike on Erbil.
He said the two Iranians, who are well-known Iranian security officials in charge of Iraq, had sent a threatening message to Erbil in Kurdish.
He also said that the content of the message was about some of the political options, as well as some of my cases, including the natural gas export case.
Rikani said two Iranian officials had told Zebari that “do not blame us later for what we are doing.”
The member of the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party said that the next day, Ismail Qaani, the commander of the Quds Force, met with Hoshyar Zebari and tried to reduce the sharpness of the message sent to Zebari, saying that “You misunderstood what my colleagues said” in front of Hoshyar Zebari. “It is said that the two officials delivered the message in Kurdish, so the message was very clear and there was no misunderstanding.”
On March 13, the Revolutionary Guards attacked Erbil with more than 10 Fateh 110 ballistic missiles.
The Revolutionary Guards said they had targeted an Israeli base, but KRG officials denied the presence of Israeli forces in KRG, saying the site of the rocket attack was the residence of Sheikh Baz Barzanji, the executive director of Kar Group.
Kar Group is one of the main energy companies in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Bengin Rikani’s recent remarks, as well as the targeting of the Kar Group CEO’s home, reinforce the possibility that the main reason for the Iranian missile strike on Erbil was the anger of Tehran officials over the Kurdistan Regional Government’s determination to export natural gas through Turkey.