TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iraq’s integrity is a “red line” for the Arab country, the head of the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), Ammar al-Hakim, said, calling on the semi-autonomus Kurdish region to scrap plans to hold a referendum on independence later this month.

"Iraq’s integrity is a red line that cannot be violated", Hakim said in a meeting with Iraqi tribal leaders in southeastern Wasit province.

Urging that Baghdad’s dispute with Erbil over the referendum plan should be resolved via dialogue, he emphasized that the vote should be canceled.

Authorities in Iraq’s Kurdish region have announced that the northern territory will hold the independence referendum on September 25.

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.