TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed that Tehran would stand with Baghdad and oppose any move threatening Iraq’s territorial integrity, as the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is holding an independence referendum.
In a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi on Sunday night, President Rouhani voiced Iran’s full support for the Iraqi central government, expressing confidence that Baghdad would successfully deal with the problem of Kurdistan region’s referendum.
Iran stresses the need for respect for the Iraqi Constitution, the president added, noting that any violation of the Constitution would spell an illegal action.
Highlighting Iran and Turkey’s common views about the controversial Kurdish referendum and their joint support for Baghdad, the president said Iran will stand by the neighboring Iraq.
For his part, Abadi denounced the Kurdistan region’s decision to secede from Iraq as an action against the Arab country’s territorial integrity and Constitution.
He also warned that president of the Kurdish region Masoud Barzani’s stances would incite new confrontations in Iraq.
The result of the referendum in the Kurdistan region will be of no validity whatsoever, the Iraqi premier underlined, recommending the KRG officials to avoid plans to rip the country apart.
While Iraq’s Kurds have rushed headlong into a vote for independence on Monday, all neighbors and countries in the Middle East, including Iran and Turkey, have voiced opposition to the vote.
On Sunday, Iran declared a ban on direct flights to and from Kurdistan at Baghdad's request, while Iraq asked foreign to stop direct oil trading with Kurdistan and demanded that the KRG hands over control of its international airports and border posts with Iran, Turkey and Syria.