Iran reacts to Kurdish referendum

Iran reacts to Kurdish referendum

Iran reacts to Kurdish referendum

While Iraq's Kurds have rushed headlong into a vote for independence on Monday, neighbors and countries in the Middle East, including Iran and Turkey, have voiced opposition to the vote.

"After the defeat of Daesh [terrorist group] in Syria and Iraq, Kurdistan's referendum will result in escalation of tensions and crisis in the region", Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top military advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, said on Monday. Kurdish officials say the results will be used to kick-start separation talks.

The vote on independence was the top story in the majority of Iranian newspapers.

The statement stressed that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) was threatening peace and stability in Iraq and the whole region.

Voters were asked to tick either Yes or No on the ballot asking them just one question in Kurdish, Turkish, Arabic and Assyrian: "Do you want the Kurdistan Region and Kurdistani areas outside the (Kurdistan) Region to become an independent country?"

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It would also limit spending for Medicaid , the federal-state program that now covers more than 70 million low-income people. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of the measure's sponsors, said Republicans would press ahead with a vote this week.

Iran's foreign ministry has insisted that its border with Iraqi-Kurdistan remains open, reversing an earlier claim that stated the crossing has been closed.

Hours later, the Iraqi government called on all countries "to deal only with it on matters of oil and borders".

Tehran supports Shi'ite Muslim groups who have been ruling or holding security and government positions in Iraq since the USA -led invasion which toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. They have also argued over the sharing of oil revenues, with the Kurds exporting through a Turkish pipeline over objections from Baghdad. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu urged Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım to act in a "cool-headed manner" in a meeting also attended by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman and deputy group leaders late September 23. There were fewer billboards celebrating the referendum, reflecting resentment that a "yes" vote could be seen as a plebiscite for the Kurdish leader.

However, KRG President Masoud Barzani defended the non-binding vote, saying only through the referendum can Kurds secure their future.

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