Iraqi Kurdistan referendum in line with US policy: Iranian general

Press TV – Iran’s chief Armed Forces spokesman says the planned referendum on the independence of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region is in line with the US policy of partitioning the region, reaffirming Iran’s opposition to the plebiscite.

Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said on Thursday that the referendum scheduled for September 25 “is in line with the US policy of partitioning the regional countries,” adding that Iran is definitely opposed to it.

Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri visited Turkey last week, where the two sides discussed pressing issues of the region, including the referendum plan and the threat of militant groups to both countries.

Jazayeri said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran has so far proved that it strongly opposes terrorist elements as well as their supporters in the region and counters them and this trip was also made in that regard.”

The handout picture released by Turkish President’s Press Office on August 16, 2017 shows President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) shaking hands with Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri in Ankara. (Via AFP)

Iran “is trying to eradicate terrorism in the region through cooperation with other Western Asia states, so it has begun contacts with other countries,” the Iranian commander added.

Through these contacts, he said, Tehran is trying to improve border security as there are some issues between Iran, Turkey and other regional states.

The central government in Baghdad is opposed to the vote and regional players like Iran and Turkey have also voiced alarm about the planned referendum by Iraqi Kurdish authorities, arguing that it could create further instability in the region.

On Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visited Iraq, where he conveyed Ankara’s concerns about the plebiscite to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s President Massoud Barzani.

Turkey has a sizable Kurdish community and the secessionist drive in Iraq could have ripple effects for the whole region.