On September 21, the foreign ministers of Iran, Iraq and Turkey, namely Mohammad Javad Zarif, Ibrahim al-Ja’afari and Mevlut Cavusoglu, announced in an official joint statement that their countries have agreed to consider taking counter-measures against the Iraqi Kurdistan Region as a result of the upcoming independence referendum there on September 25.
“In the meeting, the three ministers emphasized that the referendum will not be beneficial for the Kurds and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), and agreed, in this regard, to consider taking counter-measures in coordination,” the statement said.
Moreover, according to the official joint stament “The ministers reaffirmed their commitment regarding Iraq’s political unity and territorial integrity”.
The ministers also called for negotiation to end the crisis peacefully.
On September 20, Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the United States Department of State stressed in an official statement that “the United States strongly opposes the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s referendum on independence, planned for September 25.”
Nauert called for negotiation backed by the US and the UN to reach a peaceful suction between Kurdistan Region and the Iraqi Federal Government.
“The United States urges Iraqi Kurdish leaders to accept the alternative, which is a serious and sustained dialogue with the central government, facilitated by the United States and United Nations, and other partners, on all matters of concern, including the future of the Baghdad-Erbil relationship,” Nauert said in the statement.
Nauert warned that if the referendum is conducted, “it is highly unlikely that there will be negotiations with Baghdad”.
This statement contradicts to earlier claims of Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani that there will be a US-backed post-independence negotiation with the Iraqi Federal Government.
Nauert also revealed that the upcoming Kurdistan Region independence referendum has already “negatively affected” Defeat-ISIS coordination to dislodge ISIS from its remaining areas of control in Iraq.
Furthermore, Nauert warned that the upcoming Kurdistan Region independence referendum will have negative effect on Kurdistan Region economy.
“The referendum may jeopardize Iraqi Kurdistan’s regional trade relations, and international assistance of all kinds, even though none of Iraq’s partners wish this to be the case. This is simply the reality of this very serious situation,” Nauert said.
The US pressure can be considered as a direct warning for Masoud Barzani who so far refused any political solution for the crisis.