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Iraq’s Major Shiite Party Opposed to Kurdish Referendum

TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iraq’s Islamic Dawa Party, a major Shiite party, underlined its opposition to an independence referendum planned to be held by the country’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region on September 25.

“Kurds would be the main loser of the referendum,” Secretary General of the Islamic Dawa Party Abdul Karim al-Anzi said, commenting on the Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani’s insistence on going ahead with the referendum plan.

“If the referendum is held, Barzani will get into a difficult situation and Iraqi Arabs will become more sensitive about the Kurds’ demands,” he said.

The Iraqi politician also said Tehran and Ankara would react decisively and prudently to the Kurdish demand for independence.

He further hoped that developments regarding the referendum in the Kurdish semi-autonomous region will not result in an armed conflict between the Kurds and the central government.

Barzani has vowed to go ahead with the independence referendum despite intense opposition by the Iraqi government, the country’s neighbors, in particular Iran and Turkey, and the international community.

Residents in provinces controlled by the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government will vote on Sept. 25 on independence from Baghdad.

The oil-rich province of Kirkuk is among the contested areas where the vote is planned.

Iraqi lawmakers have voted against the independence referendum and called on the Baghdad government to negotiate with the Kurds.