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Iran criticizes Iraq's Kirkuk vote to join Kurdish independence referendum
Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the recent vote by Iraq's Kirkuk Province to join the imminent referendum on independence of the autonomous region of Kurdistan is "dangerous and provocative," official IRNA news agency reported.
The vote "not only won't help the recent Baghdad talks to settle two sides' problems, but also will undermine the victories of Iraq against terrorism," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying.
Iran "is against this wrong decision which violates the sovereignty of Iraq and its territorial integrity," Qasemi said, urging the Kurds to respect the constitution of Iraq.
Dialogue is the best way to deal with the problems between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan region, he noted.
"Any measure which leads to new crisis in the region and in the borders of Iraqi neighbours should be avoided," the spokesman warned.
So far, Iranian state and military officials have voiced their strong opposition to the planned referendum on Kurdish independence in Iraq.
On Tuesday, the council of the ethnically-mixed Kirkuk Province voted to participate in the planned referendum on independence of Iraqi Kurdistan region.
On June 7, Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani announced his intention to hold a referendum on the independence of the Kurdish region from Iraq on Sept. 25, a step which has been criticized by Baghdad and neighbouring Turkey and Iran, which have sizeable Kurdish minorities of their own.
[Source: Xinhua, Tehran, 30Aug17]
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