20:29 GMT02 March 2021
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    Iraqi Kurdistan's Independence Referendum (53)

    Iran has recently announced an indefinite ban on the transport of oil and energy products to and from Iraqi Kurdistan and has held joint military exercises with Iraq near the border with the autonomous region. Iranian political analyst Mosayeb Naimi explained that this is how Tehran vowed to stand by Baghdad following the vote for independence.

    "All the measures which Iran has undertaken against Iraqi Kurdistan come at the request of, and in agreement with, the Iraqi central government," Iraqi-born Iranian political analyst Mosayeb Naimi, an expert on Middle Eastern affairs and managing director of Iranian Arabic language Al Vefagh newspaper told Sputnik Persian.

    The official position of Iran and a number of other UN member states, he went on to say, is that it is the Baghdad-based government which holds sovereignly over the territorial integrity of the country, while the Kurdish region remains merely an autonomous part of a unified and integral Iraq.

    That is why, he said, if Iran suspends flights to and from this region and other trade and economic activity it is not a unilateral initiative but an action which had been coordinated with the country's central government in Baghdad.

    Last week, Iran banned the transportation of refined crude oil products by Iranian companies to and from Iraq’s Kurdistan region and halted its flights to and from the autonomy. Turkey and Qatar and a number of other countries offering flights to Erbil, the capital city of the Iraqi Kurds, have made the same decision.

    On Monday, Iranian and Iraqi forces staged joint military exercises near the border of the autonomous region, which involved armor and artillery units, as well as drones and other aircraft.

    "Iran has always advocated the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq and has always denounced any manifestation of separatism, particularly by Iraqi Kurdistan, as it will have the most negative consequences for the whole of the Middle East and will serve a bad example for other regional groups," Mosayeb Naimi told Sputnik.

    He further explained that these measures should not be perceived as directed against the Kurdish people. It is only a response to the request of the Baghdad-based government and a certain message to Masoud Barzani, the President of Iraqi Kurdistan, who acted solely of his own ambitions and in spite of the protest of its regional neighbors Iran, Turkey, Syria and other large countries.

    Commenting on the Iran-Iraq military drills, the expert said that taking into account the escalating regional tensions and the so-called "sensitivity" of border areas, this is a necessary measure. 

    Earlier Iran has been holding its own military drill in this area, aimed at offering better control on its borders. It has been training the mechanisms and the tactics of prompt response to potential threats to its security.

    "We are urging Baghdad and the Barzani government to find a compromise and a peaceful solution to their internal conflict. However if there is no peace, military confrontation becomes inevitable," Mosayeb Naimi said.

    Turkey, he noted, has also been repeatedly notifying Masoud Barzani about its actions and its position. And forceful developments will plunge the whole region into chaos. Hence Iran, he said, is acting legally and logically, trying to prevent such an undesirable development.

    "In such a situation Iran is forced to demonstrate its strong military peace, for the sake of peace and stability in the region,: the expert concluded.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Iraqi Kurdistan's Independence Referendum (53)
    flight ban, military drills, oil embargo, independence referendum, Masoud Barzani, Mosayeb Naimi, Iraqi Kurdistan, Baghdad, Tehran, Iraq, Iran
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