Larijani calls Iran-KRG ties ‘strategic’

January 22, 2018

TEHRAN – Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani said on Sunday that Iran has “strategic” relationship with the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (KRG) and seeks to protect it.

“We have a strategic relation with you and seek to protect it. This relation is valuable and should not be harmed by strategic mistakes,” he said during a meeting with Iraqi Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani who visited Tehran on Sunday.

Barzani’s visit to Tehran was the first by a high-ranking KRG official since the autonomous Kurdistan region held an ill-fated independence referendum on September 25, 2017. The central Iraqi government strongly opposed the referendum, however then KRGC president Masoud Barzani pushed for the vote. 

Larijani said, “We have had and will have close and brotherly relations with our Kurdish brothers in the Kurdistan region and the region’s security is very important for us.”

He also said that Iran wants a “dynamic” Kurdistan which takes action within the framework of the Iraqi constitution, highlighting the importance of maintaining unity in the Kurdistan region.

For his part, Barzani said, “Settlement of issues between the Iraqi central government and us should be within the framework of Iraq’s constitution, because we seek to maintain Iraq’s integrity and territorial integrity.”

On Saturday, one day prior to his visit to Tehran, Barzani held talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to settle disputes which emerged after the referendum.

“We do not expect all the problems be solved in one session. However, based on Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, we are ready to solve the problems within the framework of the constitution and constant talks,” Barzani explained.

Elsewhere, he called for expansion of ties with Iran.

Barzani who visited Tehran on Sunday also held meetings with President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani.

NA/PA

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