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Iran and Turkey pledge to oppose independence bid

The presidents of Iran and Turkey pledged yesterday to oppose the independence bid by Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan shared a rare moment of unity at a press conference in the Iranian capital Tehran following last month’s independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan.

“We will not accept changing borders in the region,” Mr Rouhani said. “Turkey, Iran and Iraq have no choice but to take serious and necessary measures to protect their strategic goals in the region.”

For his part, Mr Erdogan warned: “A development of this sort will isolate the Kurdish regional government.

“Our determination in this regard is clear,” he added. “We correspond with the central government in Iraq and, as far as we are concerned, this referendum is illegitimate.

“There is no country other than Israel that recognises it. It is not possible for any decision taken after discussions with Mossad to be legal.”

Iran is a key ally of the Syrian government in its war against Turkish-backed jihadists.

Iran and Turkey are both fighting Kurdish separatists, while the Syrian army is racing against US-supported Syrian Kurdish guerillas to control its border with Iraq.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurds mourned Jalal Talabani, Iraq’s president from 2005 to 2014, who died on Tuesday.

The Iraqi Communist Party hailed him as “a firm fighter for the rights of the Kurdistani and the Iraqi peoples.”

“He was a leader who left a clear impact on the march of the Kurdistan liberation movement and the Iraqi national movement, seeking to give it a democratic and progressive character,” the party said.

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