TEHRAN (AFP) - Irans elite Revolutionary Guards have killed 26 Kurdish rebels in northwestern Iran, a commander of the Guards was quoted as saying on Sunday by the Fars news agency. In an operation to clean up the West Azerbaijan and Kurdistan provinces of counter-revolutionary and terrorist groups, 26 of the agents were killed, said Mohammad Pakpoor, who was described by Fars as commander of the Revolutionary Guards ground forces. He said the operation had delivered a massive blow to the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) and other Kurdish rebel groups. He gave no indication of the period in which the killings took place but said that no guards forces were killed in the operation. The commander vowed a further crackdown on any instigators of insecurity directed by foreign or internal counter-revolutionaries in the region. Western Iran, which has a sizeable Kurdish population, has seen deadly fighting in recent years between Iranian security forces and PJAK rebels operating from rear-bases in neighbouring Iraq. The group is closely allied with the Turkish Kurdish rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community. Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey all have significant ethnic Kurdish minorities.