On September 25, the residents of Iraqi Kurdistan went to the polls to vote at a referendum on the independence of the autonomous region amid pressure from Baghdad and neighboring countries.
After holding an independence referendum last month, the authorities of Iraqi Kurdistan have offered to freeze plans for secession and instead hold negotiations with the Iraqi government; Shlomo Brom of the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies says the Kurds' proposal is an attempt to repair the damage done by holding the referendum.
Earlier in the day, Iran's Tasnim news agency said Iran had closed its border with Iraqi Kurdistan. Tehran has refuted the report as false.
Iraqi Ambassador to Russia Haidar Mansour Hadi has said that the federal government is ready for an "open dialogue" with Kurdish officials but only in case Erbil cancels the results of the referendum, where over 90 percent of voters supported the idea of independence from Iraq.
Speaker of Iraq's parliament Salim Jabouri is visiting the city of Erbil to discuss the current crisis between Baghdad and the autonomous region.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has commented on its plans for developing relations with Iraqi Kurdistan following an independence referendum.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has reportedly urged Turkey and Iran to close their borders with Iraqi Kurdistan and to limit the oil trade with the region.
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.
Iraq's Prime Minister Haider Abadi has announced he did not want an armed conflict with Iraqi Kurds but said they should obey Baghdad authorities in the wake of the controversial referendum on independence in the autonomous region.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad supported Iraqi Kurdistan’s referendum on independence as only Israel would recognize the Kurdish administration.
Iran has closed border checkpoints with Iraqi Kurdistan as Tehran attaches great importance to preserving sovereignty and territorial integrity of the neighboring country.
In September, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) defiantly held a non-binding referendum for independence from Iraq, controversially allowing voting in disputed territory, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, captured by Peshmerga forces several years ago, after Iraqi forces collapsed and retreated during Daesh's wide-scale offensive.
A vast majority of voters in last month's independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan have voted in favor of breaking with Baghdad, prompting concerns throughout the region, particularly among countries with significant ethnic Kurdish populations. Sputnik turned to international affairs expert Ardeshir Pashang to gauge Tehran's possible reaction.
Turkey and Iran have agreed to boost military ties following the referendum in the Iraqi Kurdistan where more than 90 percent of voters supported the idea of independence from Iraq.
Commenting on the results of last month's independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan during an interview with Sputnik, Hossein Sheikholislam, an advisor to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, pointed the finger at Israel, which he claimed initiated the referendum.
Earlier the United States has already voiced its disappointment over a unilateral referendum on the independence of the Iraqi Kurdistan region. Although the State Department said that the vote would not change the historic relationship between the US and the Kurds, this move is likely to stir up unrest in the whole region.
If the Iraqi paper that pinpricked Kurdistan amid its independence referendum by depicting it as a porn star had wanted a storm of infuriation, it has achieved its aim, and even more.
Baghdad’s decision to suspend all commercial flights to and from the Kurdish autonomous region will undermine the international military campaign against Daesh and the talks with Iraq's central government on how to implement the outcome of Monday’s independence referendum, a senior Kurdistan official said.
According to the official results of Kurdistan’s Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission, 92.7 percent of the voters backed independence of Iraqi Kurdistan. Following the referendum, Turkish authorities said that they were ready to support Iraq's territorial integrity.
The Iraqi Kurdish issue should be solved only through diplomatic means, Israeli political analyst Avigdor Eskin told Sputnik. According to Eskin, one should take into account both the political and economic interests of regional and global players in the region, as well as the unstoppable Kurdish enthusiasm to gain independence.
Adult film actress Piper Perri must have never thought that a picture from her X-rated movie would appear in an Iraqi newspaper lambasting the Kurdistan independence vote. Of course, it sent shockwaves through social media.