TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Leader of Iraq’s National Alliance Ammar al-Hakim warned against the consequences of a unilateral plan by the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region to hold an independence referendum, saying that in case of the Arab country’s disintegration, all sides will be losers.

In remarks released on Saturday, Hakim described the residents of the Kurdistan Region as “friends” and said the people’s rights will not slide into oblivion with the passing of time.

The cleric further emphasized that the Kurds are equal to all other Iraqis in terms of civil rights.

He also called on the Kurdish people to preserve the nation’s unity and said if Iraq breaks up, all sides in Iraq will be losers.

Officials in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region have said the northern territory would hold the independence referendum on September 25.

Masoud Barzani, the president of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), announced the vote on June 7.

Earlier this month, Iraqi parliamentarians rejected the legitimacy of the vote and the central government in Baghdad which is strongly opposed to this move has said it will do everything possible to keep the unity of the country intact.

Iraq’s neighbors, including Iran and Turkey, are also strongly opposed to such a move.