EghtesadOnline: Iran says a recent controversial secession referendum in the northern Iraq runs counter to the Arab country’s constitution, calling on Kurdish authorities to negotiate with Baghdad regardless of the outcome of the vote.
"The referendum in Kurdistan was against the Iraqi constitution, which not only does not help the people of Kurdistan, but also is not justifiable for Iraq's security," he told IRNA in New York at the end of a his 12-day stay.
Zarif, who stayed behind to attend UN General Assembly meetings after travelling to New York with President Hassan Rouhani, predicted that the referendum would have "a lot of risks for the security of Iraq and the region."
“Our expectation is that negotiations begin with respect to Iraq’s Constitution, especially Article 1, which lays emphasis on Iraq’s national unity and territorial integrity as irreplaceable principles, with recent happenings having no effect on negotiations or the future," PressTV quoted Zarif as saying.
Article 1 asserts that "the Republic of Iraq is an independent, sovereign nation, and the system of rule in it is a democratic, federal, representative (parliamentary) republic."
Kurdish authorities went ahead with the referendum despite vociferous opposition voiced by the regional countries and the international community which are worried it could trigger a new conflict in the region.
Rouhani at UN General Assembly
Zarif also said Rouhani's presence at the UN General Assembly was “very successful,” during which the Iranian president met with US thinkers and representatives of the media and American Muslims.
"In particular, his speech to the UN General Assembly which was a manifestation of moderation and the firm policy of the Islamic Republic, was welcomed by all participants who were comparing the speech with that by Mr. Tramp," he added.
In his address, Rouhani said Iran followed a policy of “constructive cooperation” with its neighbors in order to guarantee security and help their development. Iran, he said, is opposed to sectarianism and any attempt to inflame sectarian rifts.
Trump instead accused Iran of engaging in “destabilizing activities” in the region as he denounced a 2015 nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic.
Zarif also touched on his own meetings with UN officials, his counterparts from a number of countries as well as intellectuals, media persons, and Muslim community representatives during his stay.
"Given a very toxic environment which has been formed against the Islamic Republic, and false interpretations followed with regard to the JCPOA and Iran's regional policies, especially during the presidency of Mr. Tramp in the United States, it was a great opportunity for enlightenment," he said.
The JCPOA is the acronym for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as the nuclear agreement is called.