Iran’s top security official has warned the Iraqi Kurdistan about the consequences of its upcoming independence referendum, saying the Islamic Republic will seriously revise its cooperation with Iraqi Kurds if Baghdad’s sovereignty is violated.
Speaking in a Farsi interview with the IRIB News Agency on the Iraqi Kurdistan region’s upcoming independence referendum, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said the Islamic Republic only recognizes the united, integrated, and federal government of Iraq.
“Iran’s stance on the necessity of maintaining Iraq’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty is unchangeable,” he noted, adding that Tehran would seriously revise and change its current cooperation with the Iraqi Kurdistan in case the ‘strategic principle’ (Iraq’s sovereignty) is violated.
Shamkhani stressed that the legitimacy of Iran-Kurdistan border crossings hinges on the fact that the Iraqi Kurdistan is part of the integrated Iraq.
Therefore, he added, it is only the border deals between Iran and the central Iraqi government that will remain in place, and if the Kurdistan Regional Government gets independence from Iraq, all border crossings connecting Iran and Kurdistan to each other will be closed.
He also noted that in case of the KRG’s independence, Iran will no longer implement its military and security deals with Kurdistan.
“The opposition of Iraq’s neighbours with the referendum will lead to complicated and difficult conditions for Kurdistan following the plebiscite,” he added.
“While Iraq is approaching the final stages of cleansing its territory of Takfiri terrorists thanks to the efforts and sacrifices made by Arab, Kurd, Turkmen, and other Iraqis, such moves [referendum] which do not have legal justification and validity will definitely have destabilizing impacts on the region, Iraq, and the Iraqi Kurdistan in particular.”
Shamkhani warned that the referendum will result in anti-security moves in the Middle East, saying there is still time for continuation of talks aimed at settling the disputes and revising hasty decisions.
He hailed the decisive, effective, and considerable role of Kurds in the Iraqi government, and underlined the need for continued use of this capacity with the aim of reinforcing the Kurdistan region’s security, economic, and political structures.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a friend and ally of its Kurdish brothers, has always stood by them in most difficult situations, but it believes the referendum will not secure the Iraqi Kurdistan’s interests, and is opposed to it,” he added.
“Holding the referendum will lead to the creation of new threats against the Iraqi Kurdistan region,” Shamkhani said.