Iran, Turkey Opposed to Kurdish Independence Plan in Iraq: Top General

The Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces said Tehran and Ankara are opposed to a plan by Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region to hold an independence referendum, warning that such a move would lead to tensions and conflicts in the Arab country.

“Iran and Turkey share a common view on the decision to hold an independence referendum in Iraq’s Kurdistan region,” Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri told reporters in Ankara on Wednesday after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan.

He said Tehran and Ankara believe that if the referendum is held, it would be a basis for more tensions and conflicts in Iraq.

The top Iranian general added that the consequences of the move could also spill over into neighboring countries and affect them.

“That is why officials from the two countries (Iran and Turkey) insist that this (plan) does not sound plausible and should not be implemented,” he stressed.

General Baqeri also said Tehran and Ankara agreed to improve coordination in their efforts in Syria to boost security and peace in the Arab country.

The two sides arrived at a consensus to improve their border security and pave the way for their armed forces to hold joint military exercises as well, he further said.

Heading a military delegation, the top Iranian general arrived in Ankara on Tuesday morning for talks with top Turkish military and political officials.

He will leave Ankara for Istanbul on Thursday for further meetings with Turkish officials.

Iran and Turkey enjoy cordial bilateral relations. Despite some differences on regional issues, Iran and Turkey are two sides of a trilateral mechanism to maintain ceasefire in certain parts of Syria.

Tehran, Ankara and Moscow cooperation has led to several successful indirect talks between the Syrian government and the opposition groups in the Kazakh capital of Astana.

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