FNA- Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami underlined that sealing his country’s airspace to the Iraqi Kurdistan region was just a message to the Kurdish officials for their insistence on holding the independence referendum.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is opposed to any move which leads to a change in the geographical borders and disintegration of the regional states and I hope that the officials of the (Kurdistan) region will well understand the message of Iran’s closure of its airspace to the Kurdistan region which was done at the demand of the central government in Baghdad,” General Hatami said in a meeting with Turkish Ambassador to Iran Reza Hakan Tekin in Tehran on Tuesday.
Stressing that respecting the regional states’ national sovereignty and territorial integrity is among Iran’s principled policies, he said that the Iraqi Kurdistan officials played into the hands of the ISIL terrorists and their regional and international supporters by holding the referendum, while the Iraqi government and people are fighting against the remnants of the terrorist group.
“This will create problems for the region and the people in Iraq, and specially the Iraqi Kurdistan region,” General Hatami said.
The referendum was held on Monday in defiance of the central government in Baghdad, which says the referendum is unconstitutional and called on the Kurdish leadership to drop the plan.
Iran, Iraq, and Turkey have jointly voiced concerns about the Kurdish independence vote, warning that it could fan the flames of tensions in the Middle East.
The UN Security Council also unanimously issued a statement on Thursday voicing alarm over “the potentially destabilizing impact” of the plebiscite. The 15-member council urged “dialogue and compromise” to address the differences between Baghdad and the Kurdish authorities.
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) announced on Sunday that it has closed its airspace to all flights to and from the Iraqi Kurdistan region at the demand of the Baghdad government.
“All Iranian flights to Soleimaniyeh and Erbil as well as flights from the Iraqi Kurdistan region passing through the Iranian airspace came to a halt at the demand of Iraq’s central government,” SNSC Spokesman Keivan Khosravi said.
He said that the decision was taken after the failure of Iran’s good-will political efforts to convince the Iraqi Kurdistan region’s officials not to hold an independence referendum.
Khosravi added that the hasty decision by some Kurdistan region officials will limit the Kurds’ power as an actor and in constructive talks and will create serious challenges for Iraq’s sovereignty and the security of the Kurdish people, Iraq and the region.