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Iran invites Barzani amid apparent mediation role over Erbil-Baghdad strains

By Rudaw 15/5/2016
Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alawi (left) talks with Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. Photo: KRG.
Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alawi (left) talks with Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. Photo: KRG.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iran has extended an official invitation to Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani, whose last visit was in 2011, following talks in Baghdad and Erbil by Iran’s intelligence minister.

The invitation, reported in a statement by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), also comes after an Iranian Consulate official in Erbil last week urged the Kurds to resolve all disagreements with Baghdad.

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alawi and his delegation met with top officials in Baghdad and Erbil on Saturday. In Erbil he met with Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, according to a KRG statement.

That statement also said Alawi emphasized on the strengthening of bilateral relations between Iran and the Kurdistan Region.

“Iran has always considered the Kurdistan Region as a friendly neighbor and a factor of stability in the region,” the statement quoted him as saying.  He said Tehran “attaches great importance to its relations with the Kurdistan Region, stressing that these relations have deep historical roots.”

In Baghdad, Alawi met with the Iraqi parliament speaker, Salim Jabouri, as well as with former prime minister Nouri Maliki.

Iran’s official IRNA news agency said the discussions focused on political and security issues, as well as the war on terrorism.

Last week, an Iranian Consulate official in the Kurdistan Region called on the Kurds to return for talks to Baghdad and settle all disagreements with Prime Minister Haidar Abadi.

“Iran wants Kurds to settle with Abadi and reach an agreement on all issues with Baghdad,” Ali Panahi, Iran’s deputy consul, told Rudaw.

He said Sunday that Barzani had been invited especially for his influence against Daesh, or ISIS, with the Kurdish Peshmerga have been fighting since August 2014
“Barzani has great influence in many areas, especially in the war against Daesh and terrorism,” he told 
Rudaw, adding that a date for the visit has not been fixed. 

The autonomous KRG in northern Iraq is locked in serious rows with the Shiite-led central government in Baghdad over Kurdish oil exports, the state budget, territorial issues and Kurds one day declaring independence.

Kurdish MPs fled Baghdad and arrived in the Kurdistan Region following large anti-government demonstrations in the Iraqi capital that ended with the April 30 storming of the parliament building by thousands of angry protesters.

Shiite Iran exercises immense influence in Iraq, especially on the government in Baghdad.


oh-bah-mah | 15/5/2016
can you please correct the text to the picture in this article. its kurdistan prime minister...not kurdish prime minister. or kurdistan region government prime minister. krg prime minister. thank you....iranoan mullahs will surely come to our rescue.
Help the Ezidis | 15/5/2016
It is solely the interest of the Islamic Republic of Iran to try to hinder a Kurdish independent state. It is solely in Iran's interest to help their Shia-led friends in Bagdad by hindering a Kurdish independent State. If the KRG is so unwise to accept the proposals of these islamic barbars who are so hard against the Iranian Kurdish population then they will loose their only chance to become independent this century. Iran tries also to find out how far they can go and how soft the KRG-leaders are.
K | 15/5/2016
Wherever that photo is taken, it shows Iran has no respect for Kurdish flag and that is ultimately no respect for Kurdish nation. Kurdish officials must not any invitation to sit with the fanatical Muslims to be given a lecture how to resolve their differences with Baghdadi shiit regime.
Kajik | 15/5/2016
Iran needs to approach the Kurdish referendum in an positive and sensitive way. The Kurdish people can't be bought like the Gorran and PUK leadership. If Iran thinks that they can work against the will of the Kurdish people, they should remember that any actions against Kurdistan will create disturbance thru out the already fed up people of Iran. I recommend Iran leadership to take a good look at Assad to see what can happen to them if they are not careful. Millions of Kurds revolting against the dictators of Iran will be supported by the people of Iran.
fermin | 15/5/2016
It seems to me that the Iranians are worried because things are changing, those thousands of Arabs who hit the streets of Baghdad and stormed the parliament chanted anti Iranian slogans, that was a first and what's interesting about it is most of the protestors were Shia. The Sunnis have always despise the Iranians so no changes there. The Kurds have zero trust in them, around 2007-2008 when the sectarian war died down and they had no more use for Kurd they slowly started to work against them. By 2009 it was clear that all their support went to the Shias, they pushed the Shia Iraqis towards confrontation with Kurds, it's because of their pressure Malaki cut KRG's budget. Now more and more Arab Shias are waking up to the fact that Iraq is being used solely for Iranian interest, Iran is keeping Iraq in chaos and turmoil mainly to keep them as a buffer, to keep them dependent on Iran and also as a belt to Syria. Now is the time for the Kurdish leadership to get concessions from Iran, they should demand that Iran stop interfering in KRG politics and stop working against Kurdish independence, if not Kurds should build a grand coalition and kick Iran out of Iraq for good.

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