ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq's Defense Minister while commenting on the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum reportedly vowed to use the army to "prevent the division of Iraq."
During a meeting with the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran (SNSC) in Tehran, Iraqi Defense Minister Irfan al-Hayali threatened the Kurdistan Region against attempts” to divide the country.”
“The army will intervene to prevent any attempts or illegal measures aimed at dividing the country," hinting this was “a new plot” against the security and stability of the region, Iranian IRNA New Agency stated on Sunday.
From his end, Iran’s SNSC Ali Shamkhani stressed the importance of maintaining Iraq’s territorial integrity and national unity, stating that a united Iraq "guarantees stability and security for Iraqis and protects the interests of all people of the Arab country," MEHR news agency reported.
After the statements were published by Iranian new agencies, al-Hayali denied them on his official Facebook account. The news outlets have since claimed there was a mistake in translation and changed "illegal measures" to "terrorist groups."
The Kurdistan Region's main parties agreed to hold a referendum on independence on Sept. 25, 2017 and Kurdish officials have stressed they would like to maintain friendly relations with Baghdad and "have a peaceful divorce" from Iraq.
Independence has been a long–awaited dream for Kurds across the world. Kurdish senior officials have repeatedly mentioned Baghdad has ignored the constitution and treated the people of the Kurdistan Region as "second-class citizens."
“The people of the Kurdistan Region have the right to decide on their future peacefully,” President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani has repeatedly stated.
Editing by G.H. Renaud