ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – During a Friday prayer sermon in Tehran, Ahmed Khatami blamed Erbil and other capitals of being behind the wave of anti-government protests in Iran, and called the Kurdistan Region a “second Israel.”
Protests erupted across Iran over a week ago, spurring up in various cities. Twenty-four people so far have been killed in some violent incidents, while hundreds of protesters have been arrested as police and government headquarters were being targeted.
In a Friday sermon in the Iranian capital, Ahmed Khatami, a senior Iranian cleric, also accused the US of wanting to create a “second Israel” in the region, but claimed that Iran had successfully “thwarted the plan.”
Khatami was referring to the referendum on independence held in the Kurdistan Region on Sep. 25, which saw an overwhelming support for secession from Iraq.
Iran has played a pivotal role in helping Baghdad in punishing the Kurdistan Region, by closing its borders – and only recently reopening them – and with its proxy network of Iranian-trained and funded Shia militias, known as the Hashd al-Shaabi, who helped the Iraqi forces forcibly take control of disputed territories in retaliation to the vote.
The Friday prayer leader claimed the US would attempt to send weapons for anti-Iranian operations through Erbil and via the Afghan border.
“This was aimed at putting an end to the Islamic Republic,” he stated.
The Kurdistan Regional Government has refrained from commenting on the Iranian protests since they first broke out.
On Wednesday, Iran deployed their Revolutionary Guards forces to three provinces to crackdown on anti-government protests following six days of country-wide demonstrations which left 22 people dead and hundreds more arrested.
Pro-government demonstrators, however, have accused the United States, Israel, and Britain of instigating the anti-government protests.