Khamenei: Iran and Turkey Must Prevent Iraqi Kurds’ Secession

Key Neighbors Join Forces to Try to Stop Independent Kurdistan

In his first major comments on the matter since Iraqi Kurdistan’s late September vote to secede from Iraq, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke on state TV after meeting with Turkey’s President Erdogan. He said the two nations have to take steps to prevent the Iraqi Kurds from declaring independence.

Turkey’s President Erdogan and Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei

Over 92% of Iraqi Kurds voted in favor of secession, with a high voter turnout. The Iraqi government has rejected the idea of accepting it, and has been working with Turkey and Iran to claim all border crossings between Kurdistan and the outside world.

It’s not surprising Iraq’s major neighbors are working with them on this. Both Turkey and Iran have substantial Kurdish minorities with their own ambitions for self-determination, and neither wants to set up the precedent of Kurds getting to be a state.

Iraqi Kurdistan appears to already be out the door, with their government saying there is no going back to Baghdad, while Iraq’s parliament has authorized the use of soldiers to try to bring the Kurds back under direct control.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of