By Mohammad Mazhari
TEHRAN – Describing the “Greater Kurdistan” idea as impossible, the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) representative in Tehran emphasizes that this idea is like a far-fetched dream.
“The map of “Greater Kurdistan” may be the desire of some Kurdish parties, but putting it into practice and unification of all Kurds is impossible and is more like a dream because the geography of Kurdistan is divided into four regional countries: Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria,” Nazim Dabbagh tells the Tehran Times.
On Wednesday, the KRG had revealed samples of a proposed postage stamp to be printed on the occasion of the Pope’s visit earlier this month. The stamp was said to have depicted a map that included provinces in Iran, Turkey, Syria and Iraq.
The stamp in question raised eyebrows in the region, causing tensions between the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government and a number of regional countries.
The stamp was published to commemorate the recent four-day papal visit to Iraq that included a foray into Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, on the third day.
Following is the text of the interview with Nazim Dabbagh:
Q: What is the Kurdistan Regional Government’s official position (KRG) regarding the controversial stamps issued on the occasion of Pope Francis’s historic visit to Iraq?
A: Regarding the photos of the stamps that were circulated recently, the KRG spokesman and a number of other Kurdish officials explained that these stamps don’t reflect the official stance of the KRG, not to mention that they are not applicable project.
Indeed, the stamp design was proposed by a number of Christian artists to the KRG Ministry of Communications; however, it did not meet endorsement by the KRG.
KRG spokesman Jotyar Adel told reporters that Iraq’s Kurdish region adheres to the Iraqi constitution and geographical unity. Therefore, this is an arbitrary act by some who have no connection with the Kurdish officials and is not approved by the KRG, especially given the geographical and political conditions of the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
Q: What do you think of the main reasons and consequences of such an action?
A: We saw the consequences and reactions, both from the Turkish government and its parties as well as Iran.
The Turkish government condemned this action and the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry expressed Tehran’s position objecting to the Iraqi government.
Both countries (Iran and Turkey) expressed objection to the Iraqi government over the stamp, and these objections are reminiscent of what happened when the KRG held a referendum on seceding from Iraq.
The Turkish government and parties denounced this move, and spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, explained Tehran’s stance regarding the controversial stamps.
On the one hand, I think that in the current situation, we should be more careful and just pursue the rights and aspirations of the Kurdish people within the framework of the Iraqi constitution.
On the one hand, we must admit that there is no chance to alleviate the problems without the approval and support of neighboring countries and cooperation with the Iraqi government.
On the other hand, the Iraqi government must abide by the constitution to satisfy the demands of Kurds, then the Kurdish people feel that they are partners in the Iraqi state.
Q: The alleged map of “Greater Kurdistan” includes parts of Iran, Turkey, and Syria. What will be the repercussions of such an idea on the KRG’s ties with its neighbors, especially as this idea is facing serious opposition from the central Iraqi government?
A: The map of “Greater Kurdistan” may be the desire of some Kurdish parties, but putting it into practice and unification of all Kurds is impossible and is more like a dream because the geography of Kurdistan is divided into four regional countries: Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. Each of these countries has its own distinct characteristics.
Today, we face delicate circumstances where we need to solve our problems and ensure the Kurds’ rights and security within the framework of the constitution of the country in which they live. The Kurds are the partner of the Iraqi state and brothers of their Shia, Sunni and Arab fellows.
Q: Which sides would benefit from conflicts between the Kurdistan region and the regional states, especially the central Iraqi government?
A: Those who seek to destabilize the region are the most beneficiary side of these tensions.
By magnifying the problems or tension between the Kurds with Iran and Turkey and even with Iraq’s central government, these parties want to fish in troubled water.
Understanding the current situation, the Kurdish leaders and people must not allow enemies of security and stability in the region to take advantage of the differences and cause turmoil and concern about the Kurds. The Kurds are distributed in four countries of the region, so these countries’ security and stability.
We should avoid any interference in the regional countries’ internal affairs, as the territorial integrity and prosperity of these countries are important to the KRG.