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Kurdish Independence Referendum 'Dangerous Game' for 'Personal Motives': Iranian Official

An Iranian official in Iraq on Monday warned against the Kurdistan Region's upcoming referendum as a plot to split the Muslim world.

Speaking at a press conference in Baghdad, Mohsen Rezaei Mirgha'ed, secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council, reiterated Iran's opposition to the referendum and slammed it as a gamble for personal gains.

"Disintegration of Iraq would mark the beginning of widespread insecurity not only in Iraq but the entire region," Mirgha'ed, a former Islamist guerilla rebel, said.

"We oppose such a referendum and call on the Kurdish leaders to halt that plan," he continued.

Mirgha'ed warned the breakdown of Iraqi borders is a huge mistake which would onset a two-decades war, given Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq's opposition to the move.

He went on to accuse Kurdish leaders of seeking personal gains by creating chaos in the region that would spill over to neighboring countries.

"Unfortunately, the issue of the referendum in the Kurdistan [Region] is more of a personal issue than a popular demand as many Kurdish leaders are against it," he claimed.

Some Kurdish leaders sought "name and fame" through the referendum at a time when the Region is in dire need of security and progress, Mirgha'ed said.

Kurdish leaders maintain that the Iraqi government has repeatedly betrayed Kurds in different forms--from genocide to cutting the Region's budget share--and is not a reliable partner.

Despite rhetorical wars, Iran and Turkey have made significant economic investments in the Kurdistan Region and continue to compete over extending their influence.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany.

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