TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s local parliament on Saturday welcomed top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s call for preservation of the constitutional rights of Iraqi Kurds.

According to Iraq’s Alsumaria TV, the deputy speaker of Kurdistan Region’s local parliament, Jaafar Iminiki, on Saturday hailed Ayatollah Sistani’s statement about alleviating the situation and protecting the constitutional rights of the country’s Kurds.

Ayatollah Sistani in a statement on Friday said that Kurds must return to the “constitutional” path, arguing that is in the best interest of all Iraqi people, including the Kurds.

“We are calling on the officials in the region to go back to the constitutional path to solve the issues between the central government and region’s government,” the statement said.

“We also call on the Iraqi government and the political powers represented in parliament in all their decisions and steps to take into consideration the preservation of the constitutional rights of our Kurdish brothers,” it added.

The statement said that the recent development should not negatively affect the “solid relationship” between the Iraqi people, including Arabs and Kurds.

It went on to say the people of Iraq should avoid “anything that might harm the national unity of Iraq’s communities.”

The Iraqi Kurdistan Region went ahead with its plan to hold the referendum on Monday while Iraq’s neighbors and countries in the Middle East, including Iran and Turkey, had voiced opposition to such a move and supported the Baghdad central government.

Pressure has been building on officials in Erbil, Kurdistan’s regional capital, over the referendum, with regional carriers, including Turkish Airlines, Egypt Air and Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines submitting to Baghdad’s request to suspend their flights serving Iraqi Kurdistan.