By Fazel Hawramy, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.
More than two weeks after the Sept. 25 independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, Iran has yet to take any meaningful action against the Kurdish region despite its rhetoric, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s labeling of the plebiscite as treason and a threat to the region in his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Oct. 4.
“The perspective of the American and European states is completely different from the Turkish and Iranian perspective,” Khamenei told his guest, emphasizing that Israel and the United States are the main beneficiaries of an independent Kurdistan. “America is interested in having a pressure card at its disposal against Iran and Turkey; therefore, there can be no trust in the Americans and Europeans and their positions.”
While Iranian officials, including Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, have not hidden their anger and frustration at the way the Iraqi Kurdish leadership handled the referendum, they appear to be wary of a possible US plan to change the borders of the region in favor of the Kurds. Indeed, the line that Washington has a secret plan for the Middle East has been echoed by various former and also the current head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
“We believe that the creation of … a new state in the region is the wish of the system of domination headed by the Americans and the Zionists,” said former IRGC commander Yahya Rahim Safavi on Oct. 4. Safavi, who now serves as a senior military adviser to Ayatollah Khamenei — the commander in chief of the Islamic Republic — believes that the United States wants constant tension around Iran’s borders with Iraq and Turkey, and also Syria, as an excuse to keep a foothold in the vicinity.