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Iran Agrees To Stop Shelling Iraqi Border Areas

BAGHDAD -- An Iraqi Kurdish official claims an agreement has been reached with Iran to halt its shelling of Iraqi border areas in pursuit of Kurdish rebels.

Jabbar Yawer, the undersecretary for peshmerga (Kurdish armed forces) affairs in the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq that the agreement came into effect on February 14.

Yawer added that Iran's commitment to end the shelling in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq will help the KRG to police the borders to prevent attacks by Iranian Kurdish rebels.

He said villagers who fled Iranian shelling will return to their homes when it is assured that the agreement is being observed by Iran.

A joint KRG-Iranian committee was formed to oversee its implementation.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki visited the Iraqi-Kurdish region last week and held talks with KRG President Masud Barzani and other Kurdish officials.