Iran dismisses rumors on KRG shelling

TEHRAN, Sep. 25 (MNA) – Iran's FM spokesman Ghasemi dismissed as false media hype any rumors about the shelling of the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

Speaking at his weekly press conference on Monday, Ghasemi dismissed rumors published on some Western media claiming Iranian artillery had shelled Iraqi Kurdistan region, saying the rumors were an attempt to cause media mayhem ahead of the KRG referendum, following particular objectives and intending to involve Iran in matters that have no factual basis.

“Iran’s policy toward the referendum has been repeatedly proclaimed and our stance has been clear from the start,” Ghasemi said, adding “we persist on and pursue territorial integrity, national sovereignty, and the democratic process of developments in Iraq.”

He went on stress, “Iran deems wrong and inappropriate any measure that could undermine stability, security and territorial integrity of Iraq.”

Ghasemi also maintained that Iran has closed its airspace to KRG upon the request of Iraq’s central government.

Asked whether Erbil has summoned Iranian consul general, Ghasemi said he does not confirm the rumor. 

Ghasemi further declined making comment about the possibility of reducing the level of diplomatic and economic ties with Kurdistan region, saying he would rather discuss the matter at a later time.

The KRG is holding a referendum on independence on Monday despite international calls to drop the bid and negotiate a deal that does not threaten Iraq’s territorial integrity.

In a trilateral meeting between foreign ministers of Iran, Iraq, and Turkey on Sep. 20, the sides voiced their concern that the planned referendum by the KRG puts Iraq’s hard-earned gains against ISIL under great risk. They also registered their unequivocal opposition to the referendum, urging the leadership of the KRG to refrain from holding the referendum which could provoke new conflicts in the region.

About the 5+1 joint commission’s ministerial meeting held in New York, Ghasemi said “all instances of US violation and lack of commitment under the nuclear deal were raised and pursued in earnest during the meeting.”

Ghasemi went on to stress that the nuclear deal was nonnegotiable and would not be reopened; “the nuclear agreement between Iran and the 5+1 will either remain as it is or will cease to exit altogether,” he added.  

He noted that so far, the Iranian foreign minister has held over 42 meetings and press conferences in New York, saying the meetings will continue in the upcoming days of Zarif’s stay there. 

He also pointed to President Rouhani’s UN General Assembly address, saying the president’s speech managed to both improve Iran’s image in the eyes of the international community, and also left a positive impact on the country’s foreign policy.

Asked about Trump’s new travel restrictions order for Iranian nationals, Ghasemi condemned the US administration’s move as “inhumane” and “illogical”, adding “I imagine that the public opinion in every part of the world would not agree to such inappropriate measures.”

About Turkish President’s upcoming visit to Iran, Ghasemi said relations between the two countries are soaring and the sides have entered new phases in their cooperation. 

President Erdoğan is scheduled for an official visit to Tehran on October 4, during which he said he would discuss with Iranian officials issues on terrorism, the presence of terrorists in Qandil mountains, and other important issues regarding bilateral and regional developments.

On Sunday, presidents Rouhani and Erdogan also held a telephone conversation focused on KRG referendum. The two countries have stressed the need for preserving the territorial integrity of Iraq.

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