International, regional players against Kurdish referendum

October 2, The Iran Project – International and regional players have been loud and clear in their opposition to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s referendum on independence. Nevertheless, the semi-autonomous Kurdish region remained defiant and pressed ahead with the plan.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has held a non-binding referendum on secession from Iraq in defiance of Baghdad’s stiff opposition on September 25. Kurdish officials said over 90 percent of the voters said ‘Yes’ to separation from Iraq.

Meanwhile several Iranian and Turkish officials also have described the move against the Iraqi constitution and called for negotiations between the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and Baghdad regardless of the outcome of the Kurdish referendum.

Also, Iranian Minister of Foreign affairs Mohammad-Javad Zarif said the referendum held in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region was in contradiction to the Iraqi constitution.

“It is not going to help neither the people in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, nor is it justifiable regarding the Iraqi security he added.

In another development, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri in a meeting with the visiting Iraqi Army’s Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanimi said that geographical changes in the region and secession of a part of Iraq is not acceptable and Iran only accepts an integrated Iraq and the vote of all Iraqi nation.

“Iran’s common borders with Iraq would remain the same as mentioned by the prime minister of Iraq’s legitimate government and Iran does not accept ruling of any party in that country,” said Major General Baqeri.

The Iraqi commander said that given the present regional situation, Iraq needs Iran’s help, adding that Iran has stood by Iraq’s side in all difficult times and will stay with it until its complete reconstruction.

Moreover, the Turkish President is slated to discuss with Tehran joint response to the Iraqi Kurdish region’s independence referendum when he visits Iran next week, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim noted.