TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said the fact that some anti-revolutionary groups use the territory of the Iraqi Kurdistan region as a safe haven to target the Islamic Republic is unacceptable.

Speaking at a meeting with the prime minister of Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), Nechirvan Barzani, in Tehran on Sunday, Shamkhani described security as the red line for the Islamic Republic.

“That some anti-revolutionary groups use the Kurdish lands to assassinate our soldiers and citizens and return to the territories of the (Kurdistan) region, and then shamelessly claim responsibility for the (attacks) is by no means tolerable,” he stressed.

The Iranian official further denounced “the wrong strategy” of the KRG to hold an independence referendum back in September 2016 and said the vote inflicted massive economic, political and security costs on the people of the Kurdistan region and neighboring countries.

Barzani, for his part, briefed Shamkhani on the latest developments in the Kurdistan region and said the Islamic Republic has always supported the Kurdish people of Iraq.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, the Kurdish prime minister arrived in Tehran on Sunday in his first visit to Iran since the KRG held the controversial referendum.

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

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

The 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 the 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.