Iraqi Kurdistan envoy says independence vote "likely" to be postponed

TEHRAN, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- The representative of Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government to Tehran said that there is still a possibility to postpone the Kurds' independence referendum, Iran's Farsi language Etemad newspaper reported on Monday.

"The Kurdistan Regional Government is studying the proposals by Turkey and the western states over the scheduled vote," Nazim Dabbagh told Etemad.

"In case there are required guarantees for the rights of the Kurds, they will drop the independence referendum for the time being," Dabbagh was quoted as saying.

The move to hold the referendum has its roots in the disputes between Baghdad and Erbil and the "distrust" between the sides, Dabbagh said, adding that it does not harm Tehran or Ankara.

"For sure, Iraqi Kurdistan has convincing plans for Iran and Turkey over the vote," he said.

Besides, the Kurdish forces who liberated parts of Iraq, under the Islamic State (IS) rule over the past months, is considering those areas as the territory of Kurdistan, he said, adding that however, if Baghdad intends to hold self-determination vote in those areas, Iraqi Kurdistan will not block it.

Iran's political and military officials have announced their opposition to the Iraqi Kurds' referendum, saying that the stable, secure and unified Iraq will help the country's progress.

On Sunday, a top Iranian national security official said that Iran would close its borders with the Iraqi Kurdistan if the autonomous region secedes from Iraq following the planned referendum, Tasnim news agency reported.

The legitimacy of Iran's border crossings with the Iraqi Kurdistan region hinges only upon Iraq's territorial integrity and on the fact that the Kurdish area is part of an integrated Iraq, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said on Sunday.

The border agreements between Iran and the Kurdish region have been made as a part of an integrated Iraq, Shamkhani said, adding that the Kurdish secession from Iraq would result in the closure of all of Iran's border crossings with the region.

"Iran definitely recognizes only the united, integrated and federal government of Iraq," Shamkhani said.

Besides, possible separation of the Iraqi Kurdistan region would mark an end to all the "military and security" agreements between Tehran and Erbil, and Iran would adopt a new border security policy afterwards, he warned.

Shamkhani emphasized that the possible secession of Iraq's Kurdistan will make Iran reconsider its stances seriously and adopt totally different approaches to fight off the anti-Iranian groups that are present and act inside parts of the Iraqi Kurdistan.

Therefore, the Kurdish official should think twice and not miss the remaining opportunity to scrap the independence referendum plan and avert the formation of "anti-security processes" across the region, he added.

On June 7, Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region announced that it had planned to hold a referendum on independence on Sept. 25 to decide whether or not to secede from Iraq.

 

http://www.xinhuanet.com//english/2017-09/18/c_136618959.htm

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