Ghasemi Says Regional Conditions Draw Turkey And Iran Closer

Kurdish President Masoud Barzani waves at a rally for the Kurdish independence in Erbil

Turkish President Recep Erdogan arrived in Tehran on Wednesday for high level talks with the Iranian leadership, coming just after residents of the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq voted for independence in a controversial referendum.

Tanjug is reporting this, citing Reuters, and adding that Erdogan said his country had already taken "some measures in coordination with the Iraqi central government (and Iran)".

"The independence referendum in Iraq's Kurdistan is a sectarian plot by foreign countries and is rejected by both Tehran and Ankara", Rouhani told to journalists.

President Erdogan said on August 21 that a joint military operation against the PKK in the Kandil Mountains and along the Iraq-Iran border was a possibility, although Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) later denied any claims of joint operations. They have agreed to increase economic cooperation as well as joining forces to address major issues in the Islamic world.

In response, the Kurdish government's spokesperson, Safeen Dizayee, said that "the referendum on independence for the Kurdistan region was constitutional and it is not within the powers of the Kurdish leadership or government to cancel the results".

As the Iraq war unfolded in 2003, and later the crisis in Syria, Turkey grew concerned over American support to Iraqi Kurds.

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Khamenei accused Iran's arch foe the United States of planning to create a new Israel in the Middle East by supporting the Kurdish vote in Iraq. He also said that de-escalation zones were very important for Turkey. "Turkey will only engage with the central government in Iraq and we certainly term this referendum as illegitimate", he said.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his country was exercising a policy of non-interference and using cautious rhetoric after the independence referendum in Kurdistan in order not to explode the situation in the region.

The referendum vote came days before Kurdish peshmerga militia forces were set to deploy alongside Iraqi units to oust ISIS from the northern Iraqi town of Hawija.

Iran and Turkey fear the secession of Iraq's Kurds would stoke separatist sentiment among their own large Kurdish minorities and are eager to work together with the federal government in Baghdad to block it.

Rouhani said: "Iran and Turkey, as two friendly, Muslim states, are the centerline of regional stability".

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