ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Peshmerga Ministry's spokesperson on Friday responded to the top Iranian military commander's comments, accusing the latter of interfering in the internal affairs of the Kurdistan Region.
On Wednesday, the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major-General Mohammed Hossein Baqeri told reporters in Turkey that Tehran and Ankara are opposed to the independence referendum of the Kurdistan Region scheduled for Sep. 25, 2017.
Baqeri warned that the move would result in increased tensions and conflicts in Iraq.
In response to Baqeri’s comments, Halgurd Hikmat, the spokesperson for the Kurdistan Region's Ministry of Peshmerga stated, “We hereby inform everyone that talking about the right of the people of the Kurdistan Region is not his [Baqeri’s] duty, and it is a clear interference in the internal affairs of the Kurdistan Region.”
“Holding the referendum is a legitimate and fundamental right awarded to the people of the Kurdistan Region, and no one is allowed to speak on this matter, except the people of the Kurdistan Region,” Hikmat stated.
Kurdish officials have insisted on holding the vote, asserting the people of the Kurdistan Region have the right to determine their future, just like any other nation in the world.
“Iran and Turkey share a common view on the decision to hold an independence referendum in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region,” Baqeri told reporters in Ankara on Wednesday after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
He mentioned that both Tehran and Ankara believe the referendum would lead to more tensions and conflicts in Iraq, warning the consequences of the vote could spill into neighboring countries and affect them, with both Turkey and Iran having a sizable Kurdish population within their borders.
“That is why officials from the two nations (Iran and Turkey) insist that this (referendum) does not sound plausible and should not be implemented,” Baqeri added.
Editing by G.H. Renaud