Iran denies role in recapture of Kirkuk

Al-Monitor- Iranian media and officials have expressed support for the Iraqi forces’ operation to recapture Kirkuk, but deny that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) played any role in it.

Announcing Tehran’s support for the Iraqi government’s operation against peshmerga forces in Kirkuk, Ali Akbar Velayati, a foreign policy adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated Oct. 17, “Iran plays no role in the Kirkuk operation, and the majority of the Kurdish people of Iraq are against the ambitious actions of [Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Massoud] Barzani. … We saw that the area was ceded to the government in Baghdad, and Mr. Barzani should accept his mistake and … admit [to this ceding].”

Moreover, Iran’s former ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, wrote in the government-run Iran daily Oct. 17, “The reality is that Baghdad is determined to preserve its territorial integrity, and as long as Iraqi Kurdistan isn’t willing to suspend the results of the referendum, Erbil-Baghdad talks won’t take place and Iraq will be forced to continue its current approach. However, there are currently whispers about opposition to Barzani’s decision, especially regarding the increase of [the number of] peshmerga forces in Kirkuk.”

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