Iraq’s Kur­dish par­lia­ment backs in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum

Iran Daily - - Front Page -

Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani called on the Euro­pean Union to re­main fully com­mit­ted to the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion (JCPOA) and com­pel the US to live up to its com­mit­ments un­der the nu­clear agree­ment by send­ing a “de­ci­sive mes­sage.”

“We ex­pect the Euro­pean Union, firstly, to carry out the JCPOA deal com­pletely and, sec­ondly, to press the US to honor its com­mit­ments un­der the deal,” Pres­i­dent Rouhani said on Satur­day, stress­ing that Washington should be given a strong mes­sage.

He made the com­ments in a meet­ing with Pres­i­dent of the Bel­gian Cham­ber of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Siegfried Bracke in Tehran, Tas­nim News Agency re­ported.

Ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency re­ports, Iran has fully hon­ored its com­mit­ments un­der the JCPOA, the nu­clear ac­cord be­tween Tehran and six world pow­ers (the US, Bri­tain, France Rus­sia, China and Ger­many), the pres­i­dent added, say­ing that all other par­ties to the deal should also ful­fill their un­der­tak­ings. The par­lia­ment of Iraq’s Kur­dis­tan re­gion ap­proved a plan on Fri­day to hold a ref­er­en­dum on in­de­pen­dence on Sept. 25, ig­nor­ing op­po­si­tion from Bagh­dad and the wider re­gion as well as Western con­cerns that the vote could spark fresh con­flict. Par­lia­ment re­con­vened in Er­bil, the seat of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment (KRG) in north­ern Iraq, where an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of the Kur­dish law­mak­ers tak­ing part backed the plan, Reuters said.

Hours af­ter the de­ci­sion, the White House pub­licly called for the first time on the KRG to can­cel the ref­er­en­dum, warn­ing that the vote was “dis­tract­ing from ef­forts to de­feat ISIS (Daesh) and sta­bi­lize the lib­er­ated ar­eas.”

The par­lia­ment ses­sion was the first held since the leg­is­la­ture was sus­pended nearly two years ago, though only 68 of 111 law­mak­ers at­tended due to a boy­cott by the main op­po­si­tion move­ment Gor­ran.

“We’ve been wait­ing more than 100 years for this,” Omed Khosh­naw, a law­maker from the Kur­dis­tan Demo­cratic Party (KDR) of KRG Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani, said.

Some law­mak­ers wore Kur­dish flags and rose to clap and sing the na­tional an­them af­ter the vote.

The Bagh­dad par­lia­ment’s de­ci­sion ear­lier this week to op­pose the ref­er­en­dum drew con­dem­na­tion from deputies in Er­bil. “We refuse to ac­cept the Iraqi par­lia­ment’s de­ci­sion, which was un­law­ful,” Muna Qahwachi, a Turk­man law­maker, said.

Qahwachi said she had voted in fa­vor of the ref­er­en­dum be­cause she said Turk­men were pro­tected in Kur­dis­tan, un­like in the rest of Iraq.

Ear­lier, Barzani shrugged off re­quests from the United States and other Western pow­ers to put off the ref­er­en­dum.

“We still haven’t heard a pro­posal that can be an al­ter­na­tive to the Kur­dis­tan ref­er­en­dum,” Barzani told a rally in the Kur­dish re­gion, re­fer­ring to a pro­posal put for­ward by the United States and other Western en­voys this week.

Iraq’s neigh­bors Iran and Tur­key also op­pose the plebiscite.

The op­po­si­tion Gor­ran move­ment boy­cotted Fri­day’s par­lia­men­tary ses­sion, the first since a dis­pute be­tween them and Barzani’s KDP caused the sus­pen­sion of the assem­bly in Oc­to­ber 2015.

“Those as­sem­bled in par­lia­ment to­day think this is a law­ful ses­sion, but this is un­law­ful,” Birzu Ma­jeed, the head of Gor­ran’s par­lia­men­tary block, told a news con­fer­ence held while par­lia­ment was in ses­sion.

Law­mak­ers from a third party, the Pa­tri­otic Union of Kur­dis­tan (PUK), en­sured the re­quired quo­rum. The PUK is a his­toric ri­val of the KDP but sup­ports the ref­er­en­dum plan.

pres­i­dent.ir

REUTERS

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