KRG on Iran’s Opposition to Referendum: It’s Internal Issue

President of the Kurdistan region, Massoud Barzani

ERBIL (BasNews/ Kurdistan Region’s Department of Foreign Relations (DFR) on Tuesday expressed concern over Iran’s position on an imminent independence referendum in the Kurdistan Region, saying secession is an internal issue which does not need foreign interference.

“As the Kurdistan Regional Government has previously made it clear, the case of referendum and Kurdistan Region’s independence is Iraq’s internal issue, for which [Erbil] will conduct negotiations with the federal government in Baghdad to reach a mutual understanding and make decision,” reads a statement by the DFR.

The Kurdish government also reiterated that interference of other actors will not be allowed into the issue. “Holding referendum is a natural rights of the Kurdish people and they will make decision about it.”

The statement follows remarks by a spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry who said earlier this week that Tehran is against Kurdistan Region’s independence from Iraq and that Kurds should preserve the unity and sovereignty of Iraq.

Kurdistan gained autonomous governance based on the 2005 constitution, but is still considered a part of Iraq. The region was created in 1970 based on an agreement with the Iraqi government, ending years of fierce fighting.

In February, Kurdish President Masud Barzani called for a “non-binding” referendum on the region’s independence from Iraq. He has, since then, defied opposition from the government in Baghdad and other regional powers including Turkey and Iran. Kurdish officials have said the poll would be held within 2017.

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