A leading Iranian security official on Monday vowed to close the country’s border with Iraq’s Kurdish region in the event that the latter declares independence from Baghdad.
The IRNA news agency quoted Ali Shamkhani, head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, as saying that the Kurdish area’s secession from Iraq would disrupt security arrangements across the region, leaving Tehran no choice but to seal its border.
“Iran would have to seriously reconsider its regional policy and adopt novel strategies for guaranteeing security,” he said.
Shamkhani went on to assert that a number of “counter-revolutionary” elements — i.e., groups opposed to the Iranian government — were currently based in Iraq’s Kurdish region. “Iran recognizes only one federal government in Iraq,” he stressed. “As a friend and ally of our Kurdish brothers,” he added, “Iran does not believe the planned referendum will serve the interests of the Kurdish region and is therefore opposed to it.”
On Sept. 25, northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) will hold a popular referendum on whether or not to declare full independence from Iraq.—Agencies