ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Responding to a message from an Iranian official who had said Kurds should not stand against “the unity” of Iraq and criticized Kurdistan’s independence referendum, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) stated on Tuesday it does not allow “meddling from any party.”
Bahram Qasimi, spokesperson of the Iranian Foreign Ministry had said in a press conference on Monday: “The Kurds are an important part of Iraq and have rights within the framework of the unity of this country, but they should not stand against the oneness of the Iraqi land, oppose or reject it.”
The KRG’s Department of Foreign Relations (DFR) countered on Tuesday, responding to Qasimi’s comments regarding the anticipated referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Region.
“The right to self-determination is a natural right of the Kurdistan nation just like all the other nations in the World. The Kurdish nation will continue to reach its right desires and objectives as it has sacrificed a lot for it,” read a DFR statement.
“We reject any remarks on this question, and therefore, reiterate that we do not allow meddling from any party,” it added.
Qasimi also had said that “these words and subjects are not new. They existed even in the past, but Iran supports the unity of the Iraqi land and opposes any splintering happening in this country.”
The DFR reiterated that a national dialogue within Iraq and the Kurdistan Region is ongoing.
“As the KRG before announced officially, the questions of referendum and independence of the Kurdistan Region are an internal matter of Iraq. This subject is going to be discussed and decided on with the Iraqi government through understanding and dialogue.”
Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian Quds commander, came to the Kurdish city of Sulaimani on April 11.
According to the Arab-language newspaper Sharq al-Awsat, Soleimani was meeting with members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in an attempt to discourage a referendum on independence in the Kurdistan Region.
A committee formed jointly by the PUK and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) met with foreign consulates in Erbil in early April, including Iran, to discuss plans to hold a referendum on independence this year.