[VOA Persian’s report about Qassem Suleimani’s attempt for preventing Kurdistan’s referendum for independence from Iraq.]
TV anchor says: Referendum for Kurdistan’s independence will be held in less than two weeks. In its Tuesday’s session, Iraq’s Parliament denounced holding a referendum in Kurdistan. Ali Javanmardi, the VOA journalist in Iraq, has prepared a report based on reports, analysis of political experts, talks in political circles, and interviewing the experts. According to these sources, Qassem Suleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Forces, is also in Iraq, trying to prevent holding this referendum. Ali Javanmardi has a report in this regard.
The reporter states: A few hours ago, Qassem Suleimani entered here, the city of Erbil. Yesterday he was in Suleimanieh and met with officials of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in this city. The main point of these talks – or better to say the reason of Qassem Suleimani’s trip to Iraqi Kurdistan – is to prevent referendum for Kurdistan’s independence on September 25.
The reporter explained: I talked with one of the officials of the Patriotic Union, who didn’t want his name to be revealed, on the phone. He said that Kurdish officials in Suleimanieh gave a negative response to Mr. Suleimani, telling him that they cannot stop the referendum for Kurdistan’s independence. Of course, on the day when Qassem Suleimani has arrived in Erbil, Masoud Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan Region, has gone to Kirkuk to gain the support of Turkmen and Arab in Kirkuk for a referendum for Kurdistan’s independence.
The reporter continues: It means that the president of Iraqi Kurdistan Region is not in the city, and Mr. Suleimani has to meet and talk with other Kurdish officials in Erbil. A few hours after Kurdish officials gave a negative response to the commander of Quds Forces regarding referendum for Kurdistan’s independence, Iraqi Parliament held a session on request of 80 Shiite Iraqi MPs to discuss and exchange views about a referendum for Kurdistan’s independence.
The reporter goes on to say: At the end of the session which started with remarks of Salim Jabouri, speaker of the parliament, regarding preserving Iraq’s territorial integrity, it was decided to denounce referendum for Kurdistan’s independence. Iraqi Parliament rejected the referendum of September 25, giving the green light to Haidar al-Ebadi, Iraqi prime minister, to take any necessary measures to prevent this referendum. About 31 Kurdish MPs did not take part in today’s session. And then in a press conference, they separately announced that Iraqi’s parliament’s decision doesn’t have any legal status because it lacked the legal quorum, and not all MPs were present.
Reporter concludes: 17 organizations and parties in Iraqi Kurdistan are in favor of September 25 referendum for Kurdistan’s independence, and only 2 parties are against it. Gorran Movement and Islamic Society that are against the referendum hold that Kurdistan must remain within the framework of Iraq.
Ali Javanmardi, Erbil in Iraqi Jurdistan, VOA Persian