TEHRAN, Sep. 27 (Press Shia Agency) – Iran will remain an eternal friend of Iraqi Kurdistan despite their recent vote to split from Iraq, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

Iran is the only country with a large proportion of Kurdish population which manages to cultivate decent relations with them. With Iraqi Kurds Tehran has a long-standing relationship which has deepened after 2014 when Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps started to back Kurdish Peshmerga’s efforts to counter Daesh.

Iran will remain an eternal friend of Kurds despite their recent vote to split from Iraq, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in New York on Wednesday.

“We believe that was a very serious mistake, and we believe that as people who are friends of the Kurds – we will remain eternal friends of the Kurds – we believe that was a major strategic mistake,” he said in an interview with the Asia Society, a nonprofit based in New York.

Zarif predicted the Monday referendum would have consequences that would not be limited to Iraqi Kurdistan.

Iran and Turkey criticized the referendum. The United Nations and the United States also decried the Iraqi Kurdish authorities for potentially destabilizing the region. Baghdad has called the vote illegal and has refused to engage in a dialogue with Kurdish leaders.

SPUTNIK/Press Shia Agency