Iran sees Challenge of Kurdish Referendum as Opportunity

When it comes to countering the results of the Kurdish referendum, neither Iran nor Turkey will act on their own; rather, both will move together. On Oct. 4, Erdogan visited Iran to discuss issues of mutual interests — and the Kurdish issue was very high on the list. Both Erdogan and his host, President Hassan Rouhani, expressed dismay toward the Iraqi Kurdish state.

While Rouhani said at a joint news conference, “We will not accept changing borders in the region,” Erdogan warned, “A development of this sort will isolate the Kurdish regional government.” He added, “From this moment onward, more decisive steps will be taken.”

A source close to the IRGC told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that the Kurdish referendum dilemma could be the challenge that will induce Turkey, Iran, Iraq and some other allies to actually cooperate on the ground. “For years, these parties were facing each other in Syria, directly or indirectly. The challenge of the Kurdish referendum is being transformed into a serious opportunity.”

Information acquired by Al-Monitor indicates that the first step could start from Kirkuk, given its status with respect to Iraq, and the fact that the KRG’s occupation of the area was seen as illegitimate by the Iraqi authorities and the international community.

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