[Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, announces Iran’s position and possible reactions to Iraqi Kurdistan’s referendum for independence.]
Ali Shamkhani talks about defeating ISIS: With bravery, resistance, and continuous efforts of all people of the region, Aleppo, Mosul, Tal Afar, and Iraqi and Syrian borders and Deir ez-Zor, were secured and ISIS was purged, except for small locations. 85% of Syria was purged. And almost all Iraq was purged as well. And we are going to celebrate the purging of ISIS from the region by the countries of the region.
Ali Shamkhani talks about the goal of western countries: Their goal is creating preoccupations and challenges for the future, and not leaving the region without challenges. Intelligent leaders of the region should not help them achieve this goal by taking hasty, shallow and unnecessary decisions. The relationship between Iran and our Kurdish brothers and sisters during Saddam was based on decisively supporting them in confronting him. And after overthrowing Sadam, Iran had an effective role in defending Kurds’ right in the constitutional law. Federalism was suggested and Iran had an effective impact on this, with help of other people of the region and Iraqis.
Ali Shamkhani continues: Unfortunately, some of our Kurd brothers and Kurd parties, with their tribal outlook, are mistaking this [referendum] for an opportunity. They think they have a historical opportunity to realize an unrealizable, harmful ideal for Kurd people in these historical conditions. We talked to them and explained the illogicality of this while interpreting the great, decisive role of Kurdish political parties in the totality of Iraq today. The fallout of this [referendum], if such a thing happens, can bring about lack of facilities for Kurds through their political leaders, as well as destabilize the region and make it insecure.
Ali Shamkhani goes on to say: We showed this with objective evidence and reasons so that they would reconsider their decisions. We still hope it will be effective because there is still time for changing this decision. If this process continues and this referendum takes place, they certainly know – the central government of Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, and all other neighbors of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan that are against this – that Iran has defined its lawful borders according to an agreement with Iraqi’s central government. And if such an event takes place, these borders will no longer be creditable.
Ali Shamkhani adds: On the other hand, naturally because of the security agreement that Iran had with Iraqi Kurdistan, security behaviors of Iran inside Iraqi Kurdistan corresponded with Iraqi Kurdistan’s obligations to control fugitive counterrevolutionaries in that region. But if such an event [referendum] takes place, that security agreement will no longer be valid. And Iran will do anything to remove its concerns and resolve its security issues. And it will prepare itself to be present beyond the borders to confront these insecurities. Naturally, in such conditions, it makes no sense to have a consulate in a land which has separated from the motherland. It makes no sense. And this can have many consequences in the region. I hope that that re-evaluation, good intentions, and differences that are growing in Iraqi Kurdistan itself overdoing or not doing it might lead to stopping this. The path to a stronger interaction with Iraqi’s central government, with our and others’ support, can solve some of the problems they refer to.