TEHRAN – The prime minister of the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, Nechirvan Barzani, underlined that Tehran can “play a positive role” in resolving disputes between the Arab country’s central government and the KRG.
Speaking at a meeting with Iranian Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi on Sunday, Barzani pointed to recent disputes between Baghdad and Erbil on a planned independence referendum in the Kurdish region and said “serious dialogue” is needed to resolve them.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran can play a positive role in this regard,” the Kurdish prime minister added.
He further described Tehran-Erbil relations as good and wished the Iranian ambassador success during his tenure in the Arab country.
Masjedi, for his part, said Tehran has already offered to mediate between Baghdad and Erbil and tried to pave the ground for talks between the two sides.
The comments came after officials in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region announced that the northern territory will hold an independence referendum on September 25.
Masoud Barzani, the president of the KRG, announced the vote last month.
The referendum on whether to secede from Iraq is planned to be held in the three governorates that make up the Kurdish region and in the areas that are disputed by the Kurdish and Iraqi governments but are currently under Kurdish military control.
The disputed areas include the key oil-rich province of Kirkuk.