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Hoisting non-Iraqi flags in Kirkuk unconstitutional: Iran

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Kirkuk Provincial Governor Najim al-Din Karim (C-R) raises the Iraqi flag to fly next to the Kurdish flag over a government building in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on March 28, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Following a recent bid by the Kirkuk Provincial Council to raise the regional flag in front of some buildings, Iran says only Iraqi national colors must be allowed to fly in the country’s northern province of Kirkuk.

“The principled stance of the Islamic Republic of Iran is to support the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Iraq,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Monday.

Iran’s position is also based on the importance of all Iraqi parties’ commitment to the country’s constitution and the settlement of differences through dialogue and legal approaches, he added.

“Therefore, we regard raising any flag other than the Iraqi flag in Kirkuk, which is governed by the federal government based on the country’s constitution, as a move at odds with the constitution and a source of tension,” the Iranian spokesperson said.

He added that the fight against Daesh Takfiri terrorists is the most important issue of the Iraqi government and nation, emphasizing that Iran has so far supported and would continue to back the campaign.

Qassemi further expressed concern that recent moves by some Iraqi sides in Kirkuk would divert the attention and resources of the Iraqi government and nation away from the battle against terrorism.

The Iraqi parliament voted on Saturday to ban the hoisting of flags of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region over government buildings in Kirkuk.

The lawmakers passed the bill days after the Kirkuk Provincial Council decided to raise the regional flag next to the Iraqi national flag in front of some buildings.

In an interview with the Iraqi Kurdistan region's Rudaw media outlet published on Saturday, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi warned against the country’s disintegration and said a potential separation of the Kurds would harm them.

"That is totally objectionable. We are serious about Iraq’s territorial integrity.”

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