Iran “categorically” opposes a proposed plan to hold a referendum on the Kurdistan region’s independence from Iraq, the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs at the Kurdistan Regional Government, Mohammad Qadir Hawdeyani, announced.
Hawdeyani told the Anadolu Agency that the Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad, Irij Masjidi, visited the Kurdish capital, Erbil, on Sunday, where he had a series of “closed meetings” with officials of the Kurdish region, led by the region’s Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani,
During the meetings, he added, Masjidi “explicitly” expressed to the Kurdish officials his country’s opposition to the planned referendum, stressing that “the region will lose if they proceed with the plan”.
“It’s a natural right for Tehran to express its own views on the referendum,” the Kurdish official noted in response to the Iranian government’s stance on the move.
Early this month, the President of the Kurdish region, Masoud Barzani, met with European officials in the Belgian capital, Brussels, to discuss the independence. Coinciding with the visit, the former Iraqi President, Jalal Talabani, visited Tehran following an invitation from the Iranian authorities to discuss the issue.
On 7 June, Barzani announced that he will hold a referendum on the independence plan on 25 September.