TEHRAN (Press Shia) – The prime minister of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, Nechirvan Barzani, will pay an official visit to Iran tomorrow to hold talks with senior officials of the Islamic Republic in a bid to boost Tehran-Erbil relations in all areas.  

Heading a high-ranking delegation, the Kurdish prime minister is slated to arrive in Tehran on Sunday in his first visit to Iran since the KRG held a controverisal independence referendum back in September 2016.

In his meeting with the Iranian officials, Barzani and his delegation plan to discuss closer ties in various political, cultural, security and economic areas.

People in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq voted for independence on September 25 in a controversial referendum, amid rising tensions and international opposition.

The referendum set off a chain of events, culminating in a military confrontation between Erbil and Baghdad.

Iraqi government forces launched a major operation in Kirkuk on October 16 and took control of its oil fields and a strategic military base without any armed clashes.

Analysts believe that the decision to hold the referendum in the face of near-universal condemnation was a colossal miscalculation, saying former president of the KRG, Masoud Barzani, has undermined his legitimacy.

In October, the KRG announced it was prepared to freeze the results of the referendum.