“At the request of the central government of Iraq, all flights from Iran to Sulaymaniyah and Erbil airports as well as all flights through our country’s airspace originating in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region have been halted,” Keyvan Khosravi, a spokesman for the Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) said on Sunday.
He added that the decision had been made during an emergency session of the SNSC earlier in the day after Iran’s “political” efforts proved ineffective in the face of Kurdish officials’ insistence on holding a planned referendum on the independence of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
Khosravi warned that hasty decisions made by some officials of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region would limit the power of Kurds for engaging in constructive dialogue within Iraq’s government structure and would also pose serious challenges to security of Kurdish people, the entire Iraq as well as the region.
As Iraq’s Kurds are rushing headlong into a vote for independence on Monday, all neighbors and countries in the West Asia region, including Iran and Turkey, are trying to persuade the Erbil government to cancel the referendum.
They warn that the vote could unleash ethnic violence, tear Iraq apart and fracture the forces combatting ISIS terrorists.
The UN Security Council has also warned of the potentially destabilizing impact of the planned referendum. Kurdish independence referendum unwise
Iran’s former defense minister has described the Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s plan to hold an independence referendum as unwise, saying president of the Kurdish region Masoud Barzani appears to be seeking concessions from the Baghdad government with such a referendum.
“Nobody would tolerate an independent Kurdistan, and the Kurds would not pursue independence if they exercise wisdom,” Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, an adviser to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, said on Saturday. Reminding the Kurdish officials that their region is landlocked, the Iranian general said the neighbors would never agree with such an independence plan. Israeli regime backs Kurdish breakaway move
Meanwhile, the Israeli regime has come out in apparent support of the controversial referendum. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently said the Tel Aviv regime “supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state of its own.”
In reaction, Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki has denounced the planned Kurdish independence referendum in northern Iraq, warning that Baghdad would not tolerate the establishment of “a second Israel.”
The so-called independence plebiscite “is contrary to the constitution and does not serve the general interests of the Iraqi people, not even the particular interests of the Kurds,” Maliki said.