Saturday, January 28, 2023

Iran Blasts Kirkuk’s ‘Unacceptable’ Support for Kurdistan Independence Referendum

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman has warned the authorities in the Iraqi province of Kirkuk against their ‘wrong, provocative, and unacceptable’ decision to back the Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence referendum.

In a statement on Wednesday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said the Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum has been rejected by the Iraqi central government, the United Nations, and many regional and ultra-regional countries.

The decision made by the Council of Kirkuk Province to back and vote in such plebiscite is a dangerous and provocative move, he went on to say.

Qassemi further noted that Kirkuk’s support for the referendum will not only fail to help the recent talks held in Baghdad to settle the differences between the two sides, but will also influence Iraq’s national power and capacities in the path of stabilising the country’s victories over terrorism.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran warns against the wrong decision, which clearly violates Iraq’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he noted.

“We once again emphasise that the best option for the Iraqi nation is the commitment of all parties to the Constitution and the settlement of differences through dialogue and legal solutions,” Qassemi added.

“Any move that would create fresh crises in the region and the borders of Iraq’s neighbours is intolerable,” he stressed.

Councillors in Kirkuk voted to take part in next month’s Kurdish independence referendum in a session, however, that was boycotted by Turkmen and Arab members.

The central government in Baghdad is strongly opposed to Iraqi Kurdistan’s planned September 25 referendum, which is non-binding but could lead to independence.

Kirkuk, an ethnically-mixed oil-rich province, is not part of the Kurdistan region but has a large Kurdish population.

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