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Iran to Stay Friends With Kurds Despite Referendum 'Mistake'

© AP Photo / Petr David JosekIran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif - Sputnik International
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Iran is the only country with a large proportion of Kurdish population which manages to cultivate decent relations with them. With Iraqi Kurds Tehran has a long-standing relationship which has deepened after 2014 when Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps started to back Kurdish Peshmerga's efforts to counter Daesh.

NEW YORK (Sputnik) — Iran will remain an eternal friend of Kurds despite their recent vote to split from Iraq, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in New York on Wednesday.

"We believe that was a very serious mistake, and we believe that as people who are friends of the Kurds – we will remain eternal friends of the Kurds – we believe that was a major strategic mistake," he said in an interview with the Asia Society, a nonprofit based in New York.

A flag of the autonomous Kurdistan region flies as Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters take position to monitor the area from their front line post in Bashiqa, a town 13 kilometres north-east of Mosul (File) - Sputnik International
Iraqi Kurdistan 'Has No Plans' to Create Kurdish States in Iran, Turkey
Zarif predicted the Monday referendum, in which 92 percent of 3.4 million people in northern Iraq’s three main Kurdish provinces and in multi-ethnic Kirkuk region voted to have a separate nation state, would have consequences that would not be limited to Iraqi Kurdistan.

Iran and Turkey criticized the referendum amid fears it might strengthen separatist feelings in their own ethnic Kurdish minorities. The United Nations and the United States also decried the Iraqi Kurdish authorities for potentially destabilizing the region. Baghdad has called the vote illegal and has refused to engage in a dialogue with Kurdish leaders.

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