Iran warns Iraqi-Kurdish authority over Kirkuk referendum vote

Iran warns Iraqi-Kurdish authority over Kirkuk referendum vote
1 min read
31 August, 2017
Iran says that a vote in the contested Iraqi city of Kirkuk for next month's Kurdish referendum is a 'dangerous' escalation in tensions between Erbil and Baghdad.
Ghasemi has warned Kirkuk against taking part in the vote [AFP]
Iran has slammed a decision by the contested Iraqi city of Kirkuk to take part in next month's Kurdish referendum, which has already caused tensions between Erbil and Baghdad.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi warned Kirkuk's council against taking part in September's vote for the independence of Kurdish territories in northern Iraq.

"The council's decision is seen as unacceptable by the Iraqi government, the UN and several other countries," Qasimi said.

"Any move that leads to fresh crises - in neighbouring states and the wider region - is unacceptable."

Kirkuk's provincial council adopted a resolution on Tuesday to take part in the 25 September referendum for Kurdish regional independence.

Arab and Turkman councilors boycotted the session, highlighting the tensions between the multi-ethnic city's population, which is claimed by the Iraqi government and Kurdish Regional Government.

Neighbouring Iraq, Turkey, and Syria have all opposed the referendum vote, while it also threatens to bring Erbil and Baghdad into direct confrontation.

Pro-government Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Forces) militias have been positioned outside Kirkuk, which could see conflict with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.