On Sunday, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said in an interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) that Iran will close its border with the Iraqi Kurdistan Region if it declares its independence after the upcoming Kurdistan region referendum on September 25.
“Iran definitely recognizes only the united, integrated and federal government of Iraq … Any disruption to this strategic principle will lead to a serious reconsideration and change of the ongoing cooperation between Iran and the Kurdistan region,” Shamkhani said.
Shamkhani stressed that Iran will even end all agreements with the Kurdistan Region if carried on with its independence plan. The Iraqi Federal Government, Turkey and Syria are expected to announce similar procedures if the Kurdistan Region declares its independence. This will mean that the new Kurdish state could born under a heavy siege from all direction.
On Saturday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim the Kurdistan Region independence referendum is “a matter of national security” to Turkey. Yildirim emphasized that Turkey will “take all necessary steps on this matter [the Kurdistan Region independence referendum].”
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on Sunday before departing for New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly the he will meet Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in the United States this week to discuss joint concerns about the upcoming Kurdistan Region independence referendum.
“We will have a meeting with Mr Abadi in the United States, and from what we can see our goal is the same. Our goal is not dividing Iraq,” Erdogan said to the reporters.
Furthermore, Erdogan said that Iraq and Turkey share the same opinion regarding the Kurdistan Region independence referendum. Erdogan also said that a rejection of the proposed alternative plan by Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani was “very wrong”.
In a related development, hundreds of Arabian Sunni and Shiite families fled Kirkuk city ahead of the upcoming referendum. Locals told the US-based Alhurra news TV channel that they escaped the city because they were being oppressed by Kurdish Peshmerga forces (a military force of the Kurdistan Regional Government).
Locals claimed that Peshmerga burned all the Iraqi flags and insulted Arabian residents in Kirkuk city. Some Arabian residents even claimed that they received death threats from Peshmerga fighters.
Other Iraqi sources claimed that Peshmerga even demolished dozens of houses that belong to Arab Sunnis in Kirkuk city. The Kurdistan Region Government decided that the referendum on September 25 will include Kirkuk city, although the city is an Arabian-Turkmen city with a little number of Kurdish residents.