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KRG PM: Talk of Iraqi Kurdish independence red line for Iran, but not Turkey

In an extensive interview with Al-Monitor at his office in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani speaks about the battle for Mosul, relations with Baghdad and Ankara, and aspirations for independence.
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Iraqi Kurds have always dreamed of independence. Now they are moving to transform that dream into reality.

A conference titled “The Future Independence of Kurdistan: Challenges and Opportunities,” which took place Dec. 15-16 at the newly established American University of Kurdistan (AUK) in Dahuk, offered a historic platform for top Iraqi Kurdish leaders to argue the case for Iraqi statehood. Masrour Barzani, the quietly powerful chancellor of the Kurdistan Regional Security Council — and probably the most vocal proponent of breaking free from Baghdad — did not mince his words: “We are not accepted as equal citizens, and we reject subordination,” he told an electrified audience of Kurdish leaders from Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. Another heavyweight, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, has long been seen as less forward-leaning than his paternal cousin and brother-in-law on the subject of Kurdish independence. But he, too, appears to have shed any reservations: It is time for the issue of Kurdish independence to be debated by Kurds and the international community alike, he declared. Al-Monitor caught up with Nechirvan Barzani after the AUK conference at his office in Erbil.

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