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Iran To Boost Military Cooperation With Iraq After Kurdish Vote


Chief of Staff for the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri (R) and his Iraqi counterpart Major General Othman al-Ghanmi (L) meet in Tehran on September 27, 2017. (Photo by ISNA)

Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces of Iran Major General Mohammad Bagheri has confirmed that military delegations from Iran and Iraq visit the common borders from the Iranian side.

After a meeting with the Iraqi Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Othman al-Ghanemi on Wednesday September 27, shortly after the Kurdish independence vote, Bagheri said Tehran would support Iraqi military forces to be stationed at common borders.

Bagheri’s statement could mean Iran would allow Iraqi forces to be stationed on Iranian territory at the border with Kurdistan.

Read:Iranian MPs Condemn Kurdish Vote

“In our meeting we talked about not recognizing the recent referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan and we announce that any geographical change in Iraq and the secession of part of it would not be acceptable”, Major General Bagheri added.

According to Iran’s Army Chief of Staff, Tehran solely recognizes a unified and integrated Iraq and did not not accept the sovereignty of “any party or group” in northern Iraq.

Based on official results, more than 92% of voters in Iraqi Kurdistan have voted for independence from Baghdad on Monday. The referendum has sparked heavy criticism from Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria.

In recent days, Iran, Iraq and Turkey conducted military exercises at the border to autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. Iran also had halted flights to airports in Iraqi Kurdistan at the request of the central government in Baghdad a day before a Kurdish independence referendum.

In our meeting [with the Iraqi C of S] we talked about not recognizing the recent referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan and we announce that any geographical change in Iraq and the secession of part of it would not be acceptable.
Iran's C of S Major General Mohammad Bagheri

Nevertheless, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has refused to deploy the military to the country's Kurdish region in response to the recent independence referendum following calls by some Iraq MPs on Thursday.

"We are not looking for military confrontation," Abadi said. "We will impose our federal authority all over Iraq, including the Kurdistan region, as per the power of the constitution and law."

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