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Published On: Mon, Sep 4th, 2017

Chief of Iran’s Expediency Discernment Council claims Iraqi Kurdish independence leads to war

nsnbc : Mohsen Rezaei, the head of Iran’s powerful Expediency Discernment Council, appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader, warned Iraqi Kurds about the likelihood of a 20-year-long war and regional disintegration as a consequence of the Iraqi Kurdistan Autonomous Region’s plans to hold an independence referendum this month.

Mohsen Rezaei_Iran_Expediency Discernment Council_Sep 2017Speaking at a press conference with Iraqi media on Sunday evening, the head of Tehran’s Expediency Discernment Council said several countries in the region and the world as well as the United Nations (UN) are opposed to the referendum and division of Iraq and are urging Kurdish leaders to dismiss the petition.

The statement was correct in as much as “some” countries are against the referendum scheduled for September 25. Others, like the United States are for the referendum and Kurdish independence in general, but say the referendum should be delayed until ISIS has been defeated. Russia, like the USA a permanent UN Security Council member, expresses that it supports the Iraqi Kurds referendum and independence.

However, Rezaei said: “Iraq is a well-known nation and a member of the United Nations with international borders, and its breakdown is therefore a huge mistake since the measure would mark the onset of dangerous insecurities inside the region”. He described consequences of Iraq’s disintegration on regional countries as menacing given that breakup of Iraq will be extended to Syria and Turkey the following separatist war might lead to 20 years of insecurity and conflict.

“Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq are all opposed the plan for the same reason,” said Rezaei adding that any change in geography of the region would have serious consequences. He warned against formation of new wars in the region between the central government of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan as a result of a possible division saying “in that case, the Iraqi Kurdistan nation will suffer damages and unrest will spread throughout the region.”

Rezaei did not mention that Iran already has shelled Kurdish Peshmerga positions in Iraq’s Kurdistan Autonomous Region and that Iran’s repressive policies against Kurds in north and northwestern Iran have led to a resumption of armed Kurdish resistance in Iran.  Rezaei did, however, gave warning on arrival of the Turkish army in northern Iraq in case the Iraqi Kurdistan is separated; “unfortunately, the issue of the referendum in the Iraqi Kurdistan is more of a personal issue than a popular demand as many Kurdish leaders are against it,” the Expediency Discernment Council chief claimed.

Ironically, Rezaei also omitted the fact that Iranian troops were present in Iraqi Kurdistan during the Iran – Iraq war, supporting Kurdish Peshmerga against the Iraqi military and – arguably – contributing to the Iraqi military’s perceived need to use chemical weapons to contain the Iranian-backed Kurds led by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Massoud Barzani, then supported by Iran, and Iranian-backed Peshmerga.

He continued is somewhat misconstrued historical discourse claiming that some Kurdish leaders sought name and fame through the referendum at a time when the Iraqi Kurdistan is in dire need of security and progress while independence was a secondary issue. Omitting Iran’s historical role and Tehran’s previous military support of Iraqi Kurds, Rezaei singled out US policy over the past 14 years as the primary reason for Iraq’s internal problems and problems between Kurds and Baghdad.

CH/L – nsnbc 04.09.2017

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