Source AP ©

Seven elite Revolutionary Guard officers, 5 insurgents die in clashes in Iran

Iran’s state news agency reported on Wednesday that Seven officers of Iran's Revolutionary Guard and five insurgents had been killed in clashes this week in the northwest of the country.

The report by the official Islamic Republic News Agency said the fighting took place Monday night in a mountainous area near the town of Salmas, some 700 kilometers (440 miles) northwest of Tehran, when the insurgents ambushed a patrol of border guards close to the border with Turkey.

Several more guards were injured and one of the insurgents was detained, the report said but gave no further details.

IRNA's report laid no blame for the attack. Iran usually claims the United States, Britain or Israel are behind similar clashes, saying that those countries have been trying to foment insecurity along Iran's borders.

Also, the report did not blame an Iranian opposition group known to be active in the region - the Kurds' PEJAK, which in Kurdish stands for "Party of Free Life of Kurdistan" and is believed affiliated with Kurdish rebel group PKK fighting for autonomy in Turkey since 1984 - and which has sporadically fought with Iranian troops in the past two years.

It was not immediately clear if the absence of any blame for the attacks was related to the landmark U.S.-Iranian talks in Baghdad on Monday that broke a 27-year diplomatic freeze between Tehran and Washington.

The talks in the offices of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki were the first formal and scheduled meeting between Iranian and American officials since U.S. broke diplomatic relations with Tehran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the seizure of the U.S. Embassy.

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