The Kurdistan Region’s Department of Foreign Affairs expressed concerns over comments by Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi, who stated that Iran would be against an independence referendum in the region. Self-determination is a “natural” right of the Kurdish people who have suffered greatly to have their own state, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on its official website. “As it has been officially stated by the Kurdistan Regional Government, the referendum and Kurdistan independence is an internal matter for Iraq”, the statement read. “Through dialogue and understanding with Baghdad this will be discussed and decided. “We reject any statement beyond that and emphasize that intervention by any side is not allowed”, it added. It is up to the Kurdish people to decide on independence as is their own undisputed right, the statement read. Qassemi, said during a press conference on Monday that Iran supports the unity of Iraq’s soil and national sovereignty. “We oppose any division and separation from Iraq”, Qassemi added. “There is an endless distance to achieve this [independence of Kurdistan] because of different views between the Kurds and the region”. Qassemi said Kurds should not refuse the sovereignty and unity of Iraq as they have rights in Iraq’s constitution.
In a news conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi condemned the U.S. for threatening the security of the region, saying Washington must pay for its wrongdoings. Qassemi’s remarks came days after the head of the MKO, Maryam Rajavi, met with John McCain, a senior U.S. senator who was the Republican nominee for the 2008 U.S. presidential election. “You have stood up, fought, and sacrificed for freedom, for the right to live free, for the right to determine your future”, said McCain, referring to Rajavi. Qassemi further said the meeting came of no surprise to him, since the United States has supported various terrorist groups in recent decades. Once an important political actor inside Iran, the MKO fought the rule of Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, before the Islamic Revolution. However, after the 1979 revolution, it resorted to acts of terror and assassinations, killing thousands of innocent Iranians. According to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, MKO members were trained in the United States from 2005 to 2009, under former President George W. Bush. Their training included intercepting communications, cryptography, weaponry and small unit tactics. Following the election of Donald Trump as president, anti-Iran warmonger became much more vocal in U.S. politics, which in turn has empowered the MKO-like groups and individuals who are now calling for “regime change” in Iran.
The EU has proven that it has no realistic and true understanding of the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran”, Qassemi said in a statement in response to the EU move to extend its sanctions against Iran until April 2018 over alleged claims of “serious human rights violations”. “The Islamic Republic of Iran condemns the repetitive and improper trend of double-standard and politically-motivated approaches and instrumental use of human rights by the EU, including the extension of unilateral sanctions under the pretext of human rights violations (in Iran), which is a failed and ineffective policy”, he noted. In a statement on Tuesday, the 28-member bloc extended by a year its travel ban and an asset freeze on 82 Iranian people and one entity, as well as a ban on exports to Iran of equipment for monitoring telecommunications and other gear, according to Reuters. It added that the blacklisted names would be published on Wednesday in the EU’s Official Journal. The EU imposed the restrictions on Iran for the first time in 2011.
Bahram Qassemi said on Thursday that the recent anti-Iran remarks by US President Donald Trump and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu contain nothing except a repetition of bogus and unworthy allegations against Iran’s peaceful nuclear program. The accusations against Iran are in contradiction to multiple reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which have confirmed the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities. His comments came after Trump and Netanyahu at a joint press conference in Washington, DC, on Wednesday hammered Iran for its nuclear program.
On Wednesday Bahram Qassemi dismissed as repetitive and unfounded the allegations raised by the PGCC in its summit in Bahrain earlier in the same day. His comments came hours after the six PGCC members (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) accused Iran of interfering in the internal affairs of regional countries and questioned Iran’s sovereignty over the three Persian Gulf islands of the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa; Qassemi underlined that the three islands remain to be an indispensable part of the country.
Qassemi also highlighted Iran’s policy of respect for good neighborliness and non-interference in the internal affairs of others, criticizing attempts by certain PGCC members at inciting sectarian and religious strife and he called on the other Arab country to take advantage from the capacities of international organizations, like UN, to strengthen stability and security instead of provoking tensions and weakening relations.