The prime minister of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) praised Iran for its assistance to Iraq in the war against terrorism, ensuring that Erbil will never allow the Kurdish region’s territory to be used for posing threats to Iran.
In a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on Sunday, Nechirvan Barzani gave an assurance that the Iraqi Kurdish region will never allow any party to employ its territory for posing a potential threat to the Islamic Republic, describing that as “a redline for Erbil.”
Expressing gratitude to Iran for its supports for Iraq in the fight against the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group, the visiting prime minister said his government is in favor of a united and integrated Iraq, and stressed the need for all parties to abide by the Iraqi constitution and try to solve the problems within the framework of law.
Barzani also voiced Erbil’s willingness to broaden economic ties with Tehran, inviting Iranian investors to get involved in development projects in the Kurdistan region.
For his part, the Iranian president highlighted the necessity for Iraqi groups to enjoy their legitimate rights by respecting the constitution and the country’s territorial integrity.
Calling for stronger regional cooperation against hostile plots that undermine security and stability in the region, Rouhani said outsiders do not care about the people of the region and only seek to achieve their long-term objectives.
He finally hailed the idea of closer trade interaction between Tehran and Erbil through mutual investment and activities of the two sides’ business people.
Heading a high-ranking delegation, the Kurdish prime minister arrived in Iran on Sunday in his first visit since the KRG held the controversial referendum.
People in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq voted for independence in September 2017 amid rising tensions and international opposition.
The referendum set off a chain of events, culminating in a military confrontation between Erbil and Baghdad.
The Iraqi government forces launched a major operation in Kirkuk on October 16 and took control of its oil fields and a strategic military base without any armed clashes.
Analysts believe that the decision to hold the referendum in the face of near-universal condemnation was a colossal miscalculation, saying the former president of the KRG, Masoud Barzani, has undermined his legitimacy.
In October, the KRG announced it was prepared to freeze the results of the referendum.