Kurdish vote triggers Iran-Iraq exercises, trip to Teheran by Turkey's Erdogan

by Garry Watts October 5, 2017, 0:16
Kurdish vote triggers Iran-Iraq exercises, trip to Teheran by Turkey's Erdogan

Following the recent controversial independence referendum of Iraqi Kurdistan region, Iran's air force reinforced its defensive role along the country's western borders by deploying new missile hardware.

Turkey threatened to close its land border and halt the export of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, an economic lifeline.

It may be mentioned that amid shared fears, Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Rouhani united against Kurdish independence. At a joint news conference with Rouhani, Turkish President repeated that the plebiscite had no legitimacy and had only been recognized by Israel.

"Cooperation between Iran, Turkey and Iraq can create stability and security in the region and block moves for secession", Iranian Defence Minister General Amir Hatami said as he held talks with Akar on Tuesday. According to the plan, the trio is expected to send 500 observers each to Idlib to monitor the de-escalation deal, and the Russian ones will be military police, the Russian negotiator said after the meeting. "As we have repeatedly stated we will never be the first party to violate the agreement", said the President adding that the Islamic Republic of Iran is fully committed to the nuclear accord.

Rouhani saw the poll in northern Iraq as an attempt by "some foreigners" to create sectarian and ethnic strife.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held a non-binding referendum last week, in which almost 93 percent of voters backed the referendum, voting in favor of seceding from Iraq and forming a sovereign country.

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According to results announced by the KRG, nearly 93 percent of registered voters cast ballots in favor of independence.

He also said Tehran would back steps taken by the central Iraqi government and denounced the KRG's referendum move.

Against the backdrop of growing concerns over the Kurdish issue, Turkey and Iran have reportedly discussed possible joint military action against Kurdish militant groups.

Erdogan's visit, his second in three years, comes at a critical juncture on the regional political stage.

Those exercises have also involved forces of the federal government in Baghdad, which has demanded the annulment of the September 25 vote, which returned a 92.7 per cent majority for independence. However, he reiterated his "sympathy" for the Kurdish people.


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