Khamenei accuses US of trying to create ‘second Israel’ in Middle East

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei harshly condemned the Kurdish independence referendum in northern Iraq, saying that the vote was a plot by the US to “create a new State of Israel, the second Israel, in the Middle East.” Meanwhile, Turkey’s president vowed to prevent the Kurds from establishing an independent state.
Poster of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

After the majority of the Kurdish population in northern Iraq voted in favor of independence, the leaders of the neighboring countries are condemning the vote and calling for a firm response. On Wednesday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei claimed that Israel and the United States “are enjoying the new situation” and the vote in the Kurdish region of Iraq. Khamenei called on Turkey to work together with Tehran in order to prevent the Kurds from gaining independence: “We need to take the necessary steps against the vote.”

“The United States and other powers are planning to create a new State of Israel, the second Israel, in the Middle East,” stated Khamenei. “The vote of the Kurdish minority is an act of betrayal toward the entire region. Baghdad also needs to make serious decisions.”   

Iranian military truck passes by a huge poster of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Photo Credit: EPA

Khamenei made these statements after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is currently in Tehran on an official visit. The two agreed that they need to stop the Kurds from gaining independence and accused Israel and the Mossad of meddling in the matter. Erdogan echoed Khamenei’s words and said that Ankara is considering its next steps regarding the issue. “We’ve already said that we will not recognize the referendum,” he said. “We took some steps along with Iran and the government in Iraq but there’s a need for additional firm moves.”

“There’s no state that recognizes the results [of the vote] except for Israel,” Erdogan added. “A referendum that takes place among those who side with the Mossad is illegitimate.” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also commented on the vote, saying: “We want security and stability in the Middle East. This referendum is a plot, and Tehran and Ankara reject it. We will never accept changes regarding our borders.”

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Erdogan’s accusation that Israel was somehow involved in the vote. “I understand why those who support Hamas want to blame the Mossad for every issue that isn’t comfortable for them,” Netanyahu said during this week’s government meeting, "but Israel had no part in the Kurdish referendum except for the deep, natural and long-standing sympathy of the Israeli nation for the Kurdish people and their hopes.”

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