SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - A senior member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) told reporters upon returning from Tehran that Iran holds a hostile attitude toward the upcoming Kurdistan Referendum.
Mala Bakhtiar said on Thursday that Iran has warned that relations between Erbil and Iran would suffer as a result of the referendum, which would in turn weaken both the Region and Iraq.
The head of the executive body of the party’s politburo met Iranian officials who had invited the delegation to discourage the referendum.
Bakhtiar reported having told Iranian leaders Kurds have the right to self-determination.
“Do not expect good things from us,” Iran had informed the PUK delegation, adding they do not accept the referendum in any shape or form.
Bakhtiar said he had reminded the Iranian side since the US-led invasion of Iraq, the Iraqi government has always been dominated by Shiites.
When taking the oath of office, the former prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari refused to admit the federal nature of Iraq.
His follower Nouri al-Maliki twice deployed the Iraqi army to threaten Kurdistan in Kirkuk and then Khaneqin.
"Iraq has failed to create a common national identity for 97 years so that every Kurd would feel proud that they live in Iraq,” Bakhtiar said, adding that, on the other hand, "every Iranian feels proud of being Iranian."
He also mentioned that Iraq had cut Kurdistan's budget, refused to provide Peshmerga defense budget, and failed to regulate the oil and gas industry in the resourceful country.
"We do not trust the international community or Iraq or the post-IS era to guarantee our people's future and therefore have decided to hold this referendum," Bakhtiar recalled having told Iranian officials.
Bakhtiar emphasized they explained to Tehran that 16 parties in the Kurdistan Region support the historic decision and that is not an initiative taken by a single party.
He added that despite certain disagreements, no party in Kurdistan opposes the September 25 election.
Taking advantage of the instability in the war-torn countries of Syria and Iraq, Iran has been able to expand its regional influence.
A New York Times article recently argued that the United State saw about 4,500 American lives lost and spent more than $1 trillion spent to 'hand over' Iraq to Iran.