Iran summons KRG representatives over controversial stamp

TEHRAN – The Iranian Foreign Ministry has summoned the representative of Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government over a controversial stamp design in Iraqi Kurdistan breaching Iran’s territorial integrity.

Nazem Dabbagh, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) representative to Tehran, told the Iraqi Kurdish Rudaw news agency that Iranian officials have summoned him over the stamp and informed him that it is “a violation of Iran’s sovereignty.”

The stamp in question raised eyebrows in the region, causing tensions between the KRG and a number of regional countries.

It has two problems: First, there was no Arabic translation of what was written on the stamp, something that drew criticism from some Iraqi groups as Arabic is the official language of Iraq. Second, the stamp featured a map imagining large swathes of Iranian territories – as well as Turkish ones - as part of the Greater Kurdistan, a clear violation of Iran’s territorial integrity.

The stamp was published to commemorate the recent four-day papal visit to Iraq that included a foray into Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, on the third day.

Upon his arrival in Erbil, the pope was welcomed by the president and the prime minister of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as civil and religious authorities, according to Vatican News.  He then met with the President of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, Nechirvan Barzani, and the Prime Minister, Masrour Barzani at the Presidential VIP Lounge of the airport.

Dabbagh denied that Iran had hinted at any threats, saying, “We made clear to the Iranians that the aforementioned stamp is one of several examples presented by artists.”

According to the Kurdish official, Iran knows that the stamp is not officially presented by the KRG. Dabbagh pointed out that the Iranian official in charge of the Iraq file in the Iranian Foreign Ministry spoke with him respectfully “and asked me for an explanation of what happened, and he told me that he does not wish to delve much into what happened, but this does not serve the interest of the current policy of the Kurdish Regional Government, as it affects Iran's lands, so we want you to provide an explanation.”

Dabbagh said he responded to the Iranian official by saying that the stamp “is not the work of the Kurdish Regional Government, but a group of artists who proposed these models to the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and the Kurdish Regional Government has shown its commitment to the Iraqi constitution and human rights considerations.”

According to Dabbagh, the Iranian Foreign Ministry accepted his clarification and confirmed the delivery of a message to Iraq.

Last week, Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, said that the stamp runs counter to international regulations.

“It’s obvious that what was publicly published goes against international principles and regulations,” Khatibzadeh was quoted by state news IRNA as saying on Wednesday. “We have expressed our objection to the government of Iraq and demanded the immediate recall and correction of this unfriendly act.”

 

https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/459176/Iran-summons-KRG-representatives-over-controversial-stamp

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