United Nations chief concerned about Iraqi Kurd referendum

United Nations chief concerned about Iraqi Kurd referendum

His comments came after Erdogan had a telephone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday and voiced concern that the independence referendum in Iraq's Kurdistan region would cause regional chaos.

A strong vote in favor of independence was expected, but the result will not be binding.

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?"

An Iraqi lawmaker says the country's parliament has approved several tough measures in response to the Iraqi Kurds' contentious vote on support for independence from Baghdad.

He also told Iraqi Kurd authorities to ensure that the work of the United Nations mission in Iraq "will be allowed to continue unhindered".

"Iran and Turkey have warned the Kurds not to go ahead with the vote".

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"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.

"At the request of the Iraqi government, we have closed our land and air borders", he said.

Iran held military drills on September 24 along its western border, which abuts Iraqi Kurdistan. Iran has a Kurdish population, but they have not experienced the same level of violence as Kurds in Turkey and Syria have in recent years.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani held separate phone calls with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his Turkish and Russian counterparts, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin respectively, over the past two days to discuss the independence vote.

The Kurdistan Region's referendum plan has also drawn large-scale criticism internationally.

"We stress again that we will take all measures arising from worldwide law and the Turkish parliament's authority in the face of every kind of threat to our national security in Iraq generally", it said. The article asserted that the referendum and a future independent Kurdistan will "create a link" with Israel and that this relationship will be a "fatal blow" to Barzani.

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