TEL AVIV – Senior Iranian officials claimed Monday’s independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan was a “plot” orchestrated by Israel and the United States.
“The Zionist regime and the world arrogance [U.S.] are behind this issue,” the regime-affiliated Fars News Agency quoted the head of the Iranian armed forces General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri as saying on Tuesday.
210 out of 290 lawmakers in the Iranian parliament (Majlis) issued a similar statement, saying, “Iraq has witnessed different conspiracies by the U.S. and the Zionist regime.”
The statement, which was quoted by Iran’s Press TV, continued, “but the steadfastness, solidarity and resistance of the Iraqi nation, including Arabs and Kurds as well as Sunnis and Shias, foiled all the plots hatched by the arrogance.”
Mohammad Golpaigani, the chief of staff to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, claimed the independence referendum was a “Zionist plot” aimed at fomenting further violence in the Middle East after defeats suffered by the Islamic State terror group.
“You may rest assured that it is a plot by the Zionist regime under such conditions that the ISIL is collapsing,” Fars quoted Mohammad Golpaigani as saying, using IS’s other acronym. Arabic-language and Persian sites claim that Israel was also behind the creation of IS itself.
“Now they have raised a new issue in the region,” he added. “[The] referendum and its related issues will cause many problems for the Kurds and the neighboring countries.”
Meanwhile, the Israeli embassy in Turkey was evacuated after Turkish nationalists protested that the Kurdish referendum will lead to a “second Israel,” the Times of Israel reported.
Yeni Safak, a Turkish newspaper loyal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, slammed the presence of “so-called Kurdistan flags waved side by side with Israeli flags in all rallies organized by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)” and added that the referendum was a Zionist plot.
“Israel, using [Kurdish leader] Masoud Barzani and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist organization as pawns, seeks to obtain the area between the Nile and Euphrates, which is regarded as ‘the promised land’ in the Torah,” said an article entitled “Barzani plans to deliver ‘promised land’ to Israel.”
It further claimed that the “Zionists call the ‘Kurdistan’ that Barzani and the PKK want to establish as ‘Kurdo-Judaic,’ the ‘Jewish Kurdistan’” and that Kurds are descended from Jews.
Erdogan was cited by Channel 10 as warning the Kurds that “waving Israeli flags will not save you,” after threatening military action.
The allegations follow various conspiracy theories making the rounds on Turkish media claiming that Israel intended to send Israeli Jews of Kurdish origin to Kurdistan to live.
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has voiced his support for Kurdish independence, on Monday he instructed ministers in his government to avoid speaking out about the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan.