May 3, 2017
In recent months the Kurdish parties in Iraqi Kurdistan and within Iraq discussed holding an independent referendum in the near future. However, regional powers like Iran and Turkey repeatedly expressed their rejection for independence of Iraqi Kurdistan. Both Iran and Turkey fear that Kurdish independence in Iraq will boost the demands of millions of Kurdish people living in Iran and Turkey who are struggling to obtain basic rights. The latest rejection came again on May 1, when during a press conference the Spokesperson of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Bahram Qasmi, said: “Kurds are an important component of Iraq and should not work to harm the unity of the country.” He added: “[Iran] will strongly stand against any measures taken with the aim to tear Iraq into pieces.” The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFR) of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) responded to Iran’s statement. “We reject the statement, and further, we announce that the right for self-determination, similar to all other nations in the world, is a natural right for the people of Kurdistan who have sacrificed enormously and they will continue to reach their desires,” said the statement. The DFR described the matter of independence as “an internal issue of Iraq.” “We reject any statement out of this frame and we assure that we will not allow any side to intervene,” DFR stated.
On several occasions Iran and Turkey also used their proxies in Iraq to stand against the Kurdish political rights. In Iran, due to decades of persecution of the regime on its Kurdish minority, the Iranian Kurdish parties have boycotted the upcoming elections in the country. In Turkey, the Kurdish minority are suffering from ongoing military campaigns by the Turkish government while thousands of Kurdish elected officials are jailed.
Full text of DFR’s statement:
The Department of Foreign Affairs of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) expressed apprehension about a statement by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding the right of self-determination of the people of Kurdistan. We reject the statement, and further, we announce that the right for self-determination, similar to all other nations in the world, is a natural right for the people of Kurdistan who have sacrificed enormously and they will continue reach their desires. As the KRG officially announced before, the referendum and independence questions of the Kurdistan Region are an internal issue of Iraq.
This topic will be discussed and decided on through understanding and dialogue with the Federal Government of Iraq. Therefore we reject any statement out of this frame and we assure that we will not allow any side to intervene.
Once again we reaffirm that holding an independent referendum is a reserved natural right of the people of Kurdistan and the final decision of independence will be up to the people of Kurdistan.
The Department of the Foreign Affairs of Kurdistan region.