Iran warns Kirkuk over Iraqi Kurdistan referendum

Members of the Kirkuk Provincial Council vote on the referendum in Kirkuk, Iraq August 29, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 30 August 2017
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Iran warns Kirkuk over Iraqi Kurdistan referendum

TEHRAN: Iran on Wednesday warned the Iraqi province of Kirkuk against taking part in next month’s Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum, saying it is “wrong, provocative and unacceptable.”
The council in Kirkuk, an ethnically mixed region under Baghdad’s control, voted Tuesday to take part in the referendum, a move the Iraqi central government denounced as illegal and unconstitutional.
The plans to hold the Sept. 25 referendum have been criticized by neighboring Turkey and Iran, which have large Kurdish minority populations.
On Wednesday, Iran said “the Kirkuk council’s decision to take part in the Kurdistan region’s referendum is wrong, provocative and unacceptable.”
A statement from the Foreign Ministry described as “dangerous” the referendum it said had been rejected by the Iraqi central government, the UN, many countries in the region and beyond.
It “does not help recent dialogues in Baghdad to resolve existing issues and will affect Iraq’s national capacity and power in stabilizing that country’s victories over terrorism,” the statement quoted ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran warns against this wrong decision which is a clear breach of Iraq’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty and stresses again that... any measure creating new crises in the region and borders of Iraq’s neighbors will be intolerable.”
Kirkuk, an oil-rich province made up of Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen, is under Baghdad’s control but is claimed by the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region.
The Iraqi Kurdistan referendum is non-binding but could lead to independence.


Qatar pledges to invest $15 billion into Turkey

Updated 28 min 9 sec ago
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Qatar pledges to invest $15 billion into Turkey

  • The promise of an investment package comes after Qatar’s Emir met with President Erdogan
  • The Turkish currency has lost nearly 40 percent against the dollar this year

ANKARA: Turkey has announced that Qatar has pledged to invest $15 billion into Turkish financial markets and banks, a government source told Reuters on Wednesday.
The promise of an investment package comes after Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani met with President Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara and as Turkey comes to terms with a collapse in the lira amid rising tensions with NATO ally the US.
The Turkish currency has lost nearly 40 percent against the dollar this year, driven by worries over Erdogan’s growing influence on the economy and his repeated calls for lower interest rates despite high inflation.
Following the announcement, the lira firmed briefly from 6.04 to 5.8699 to the dollar, but later eased back to 6.0200 on Wednesday afternoon.
It had rebounded some 6 percent on Wednesday after the central bank squeezed lira liquidity in the market, effectively pushing up rates and supporting the currency.
Erdogan’s spokesman praised the move on Twitter, tweeting: “The fundamentals of the Turkish economy are robust and Turkey will emerge stronger from this process,” Ibrahim Kalin wrote.
Qatar has moved closer to countries like Turkey and Iran after Saudi Arabia and other Arab states severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with the Gulf state last year, accusing it of financing terrorism.