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Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Iran warns Kirkuk over Iraqi Kurdistan referendum

AFP , Wednesday 30 Aug 2017
Members of the Kirkuk Provincial Council vote on the referendum in Kirkuk, Iraq August 29, 2017. (Re
Members of the Kirkuk Provincial Council vote on the referendum in Kirkuk, Iraq August 29, 2017. (Reuters)
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Views: 2331

Iran on Wednesday warned the Iraqi province of Kirkuk against taking part in next month's Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum, saying it is "wrong, provocative and unacceptable".

The council in Kirkuk, an ethnically mixed region under Baghdad's control, voted Tuesday to take part in the referendum, a move the Iraqi central government denounced as illegal and unconstitutional.

The plans to hold the September 25 referendum have been criticised by neighbouring Turkey and Iran, which have large Kurdish minority populations.

On Wednesday, Iran said "the Kirkuk council's decision to take part in the Kurdistan region's referendum is wrong, provocative and unacceptable".

A statement from the foreign ministry described as "dangerous" the referendum it said had been rejected by the Iraqi central government, the United Nations, many countries in the region and beyond.

It "does not help recent dialogues in Baghdad to resolve existing issues and will affect Iraq's national capacity and power in stabilising that country's victories over terrorism," the statement quoted ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran warns against this wrong decision which is a clear breach of Iraq's territorial integrity and national sovereignty and stresses again that... any measure creating new crises in the region and borders of Iraq's neighbours will be intolerable."

Kirkuk, an oil-rich province made up of Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen, is under Baghdad's control but is claimed by the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region.

The Iraqi Kurdistan referendum is non-binding but could lead to independence.

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