Turkey, Iran promise sanctions over Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum

Trevor Jackson
September 24, 2017

A delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government held talks with the Iraqi ruling Shi'ite coalition in Baghdad on Saturday, two days before a planned referendum on secession from Iraq.

Zebari said delaying the vote for negotiations with Baghdad without also securing guarantees that it could then be held on a binding basis would amount to "political suicide for the Kurdish leadership and the Kurdish dream of independence".

The foreign ministers for Turkey and Iran - who have their own significant Kurdish populations - met with Iraq's in NY, after which they said they agreed to take "coordinated measures" against the vote. Ankara, Baghdad and Tehran agreed on Thursday to consider counter-measures against the Kurdish plans. Barzani told the crowd they would look the proposal over, but if their "objective is to just delay the referendum, the referendum will not be postponed".

The United States and other Western powers have advised Kurdistan's Regional Government to cancel the vote, fearing that it could spark a new conflict with Baghdad and undermine the battle against Islamic State militants.

This comes as the Turkish National Security Council called Barzani to stop the referendum.

Should the vote go ahead, Ankara said it would keep "all options" open.

Beyond the Kurds, there are myriad ethnicities and regions around the world who would like to be independent.

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Britain and other nuclear weapons states have refused to sign up and boycotted a United Nations conference on nuclear disarmament. He added that countries needed to trust each other when they say that they have destroyed all their nuclear weapons.


The Turkish parliament on Saturday renewed a bill allowing the military to intervene in Iraq and Syria if faced with national security threats - a move seen as a final warning to Iraqi Kurds to call off their Monday independence referendum.

Barzani said that the "free union" described in the Iraqi constitution has failed and that the path ahead is for the Iraqi and Kurdish nations to part.

"If Washington had done to Texas what Baghdad has committed against Kurds, Texas would never go back to Washington", he said.

"Either we live a life of subordination, or a free life", Barzani told the rally adding that if they must die to achieve freedom, they will "die with honor".

"The referendum will take place on the day scheduled", the organising committee announced.

The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' foreign operations, Major General Qassem Soleimani, was in Iraqi Kurdistan's province of Sulaimaniyah on Friday and was to head to its capital Arbil, a high-ranking source in the province said.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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