Baghdad Not to Recognize Result of Kurdish Independence Vote: Spokesman
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office, described holding an independence referendum in the Arab country’s Kurdistan region as an “unlawful” move, stressing that the central government would not recognize the result of the upcoming vote.
The independence that the Kurdistan region is seeking to achieve is an “unlawful move”, which is in conflict with Iraq’s unity and integrity, Sa'ad al-Hadithi told Sputnik on Saturday.
He said, “Based on the Constitution, the Kurdistan region has federal authorities and no one has the right to change the current situation (in the Arab country) unilaterally”.
“We are not looking for civil war,” al-Hadithi stressed, noting that the central Iraqi government, however, will not recognize the result of the poll whatever it could be.
The comments came after officials in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region announced that the northern territory will hold an independence referendum on September 25.
In the meantime, Masoud Barzani, the president of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), told BBC on Saturday that he did not want to engage in a military conflict with Baghdad over the independence of the Kurdistan region.
He added that Iran could mediate between Baghdad and Erbil to help resolve the dispute.
The referendum on whether to secede from Iraq is planned to be held in the three governorates that make up the Kurdish region and in the areas that are disputed by the Kurdish and Iraqi governments but are currently under Kurdish military control.
The disputed areas include the key oil-rich province of Kirkuk.
Iran has voiced opposition to the plan, reiterating its policy of supporting Iraq’s territorial integrity.
In June, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran’s principled and clear stance is supporting Iraq’s territorial integrity and coherence.”
“The Kurdistan Region is part of the Republic of Iraq,” he underlined.
The spokesman warned that unilateral decisions which are out of step with Iraq’s national and legal norms would only result in new problems in the Arab country, particularly in the current complicated situation in the region and given hostile attempts to drag out instability in Iraq.
“A united, stable and democratic Iraq would guarantee the interests of all people of that country from every sect and religion,” Qassemi added.