TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iraqi Vice-President Nouri al-Maliki said the move by Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region to hold an independence vote is tantamount to a war waged against the Arab country’s unity.
“The Kurdish referendum is a war against the unity of the Iraqi nation,” al-Maliki said on Monday, according to Alforat news website.
Describing the vote as “illegitimate”, he added that it is apparent that the referendum has targeted the Arab country’s unity and could have serious repercussions for Iraq, the Kurdistan region in particular.
He said Masoud Barzani, the president of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), should be held accountable for any potential consequences in the future.
Meanwhile, an Iraqi lawmaker said on Monday that the country's parliament has approved several tough measures in response to the vote.
Hakim al-Zamili said the measures will force Baghdad to act to "protect Iraq's unity and to deploy troops in all areas" where they were before the 2014 blitz by Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) terrorists.
Al-Zamili said the measures approved on Monday also called for closing all border crossings with the Kurdish region.
As Iraq’s Kurds have been rushing headlong into a vote for independence, neighbors and countries in the Middle East, including Iran and Turkey, were trying to persuade the Erbil government to cancel the referendum.
They warned that the vote could unleash ethnic violence, tear Iraq apart and fracture the forces combatting Daesh terrorists.
The UN Security Council has also warned of the potentially destabilizing impact of the planned referendum.