The armed forces of Iran and neighboring Iraq plan to hold joint military exercises in coming days, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri announced.
Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency, Brigadier General Jazayeri said the commanders of Iran’s Armed Forces held a meeting on Saturday chaired by Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri.
In the session, the territorial integrity of Iraq and the illegality of the independence referendum in northern Iraq were highlighted, he said.
The commander added that necessary decisions were taken to establish security along the common borders and to receive forces of Iraq’s central government deployed to border terminals.
It was also agreed that the Iranian armed forces and some units of the Iraqi army hold war games along the common border in coming days, he went on to say.
The Iraqi Kurdistan Region went ahead with its plan to hold the referendum on Monday while Iraq’s neighbors and countries in the Middle East, including Iran and Turkey, had voiced opposition to such a move and supported the Baghdad central government.
On Monday night, thousands of Kurdish people in favor of KRG’s secession from Iraq took to the streets in Erbil, with some waving Israeli flags to celebrate.
No one in the region, except Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, endorsed the referendum, and all neighbors have warned that the secession plan would bring instability to the region and disintegrate Iraq.
Pressure has been building on officials in Erbil, Kurdistan’s regional capital, over the referendum, with regional carriers, including Turkish Airlines, Egypt Air and Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines submitting to Baghdad’s request to suspend their flights serving Iraqi Kurdistan.
(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)