Turkey, Iran promise sanctions over Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum

Ahmed, co-president of the political wing of a US -backed Syrian Kurdish force battling the Islamic State militant group, said that unlike the Iraqi Kurdish referendum that's largely been rejected internationally, local Kurdish elections have faced no objections.

Barzani vowed to press on with the referendum on Friday, telling supporters at a football stadium in Erbil that the referendum was "no longer in his hands".

Iraq's neighbours including Turkey fear the vote will fuel unrest among their own Kurdish populations and Western allies said it could detract from the fight against so-called Islamic State. Ankara and Tehran are anxious that the vote could revive the separatist aspirations of their own Kurdish populations.

Turkey, which has developed close commercial and political ties with the region, especially in the area of energy, has also threatened to impose sanctions.

The imperialist rulers' alternative proposal included pushing the referendum back two years "until a meeting in the United Nations discusses the Iraqi file, including the Kurdistan Region and the independence referendum".

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Canikli added that the referendum poses a serious threat to Turkey's national security, and it "would be declared null and void for us".

Ankara has previously warned against the move, saying it could risk "civil war" and will "have a cost" if it goes ahead.

The head of the Kurdistan region of Iraq rejected all local, regional and global pressure to postpone the referendum, saying: "They have been pressing us day and night".

Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the referendum was a matter of national security for Turkey and Ankara would never accept a change of status in Iraq or Syria.

But Barzani said he was unbowed.

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Washington is among those issuing stern warnings to the Kurds.

The Iraqi Kurds would like these disputed areas to take part in the vote.

"On the 25th of September, I urge you all to go to the polling stations", he told the crowd on the final day of campaigning for the Monday referendum.

Iraqi Kurdish leaders are pressing ahead with the referendum, which Baghdad dismisses as illegal.

"This demonstration represents the stance of the Nineveh people, who reject division and partition of Iraq", an organiser of the rally told the gathering.

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