Yahya Ale-Es’hagh, head of Iran-Iraq chamber of commerce, made the remarks in a Monday meeting on KRG’s independence referendum and its impact on economic and political relations with Iran.
“The Kurdish nation is our friends. We have deep-rooted, historical ties with Kurdish people and do not want any harm to come to them,” he stressed.
“We seek expansion of relations [with neighboring countries],” he said. “One third of our exports to Iraq has been set apart for the Kurdistan region, which amounted to $1 billion in the last six months.”
He went on to add, “however, the series of events that has recently occurred in the region holds more weight than economic interests, and we, as economic agents, operate under the policies of our country.”
“We do hope that our relations with the Iraqi Kurdistan region would improve,” he stressed.
Noting that the KRG’s decision to split from Iraq would have negative consequences for the Kurdish people, he voiced hope that the case would be referred to Iraq’s Constitution and be resolved within the framework of law.
On Monday, Iraq’s Kurdistan held a referendum on independence despite widespread calls for its cancellation. Iran has responded positively to the request of Iraq’s central government for lending support for preservation of the country’s territorial integrity, by taking measures such as closing its airspace to KRG.