Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Wednesday equated Kurdish independence with the establishment of a “new Israel” in the region.
Speaking after a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Tehran and quoted by Reuters, Khamenei said the two countries should prevent Iraq’s Kurdistan region from declaring independence.
“Turkey and Iran must take necessary measures against the vote,” Khamenei was quoted as saying.
He further claimed the United States and foreign powers planned to create a new Israel in the Middle East by supporting the vote in Kurdistan.
“America and Israel benefit from the vote ... They want to create a new Israel in the region ... The Iraqi Kurdish secession vote is an act of betrayal toward the entire region,” Khamenei said, according to Reuters.
“Foreign powers, especially the Zionist regime, seek to build a new Israel in region by sowing discord,” he later tweeted, along with a photo of him and Erdogan.
Earlier on Wednesday, meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Erdogan repeated claims from several days ago that there is a connection between the Israeli Mossad and the referendum by the Kurds in northern Iraq.
“What is the referendum organized by northern Iraq’s regional administration for? No country in the world apart from Israel recognizes it,” he said, adding, “A decision made at the table with Mossad is not legitimate, it is illegitimate.”
Erdogan made similar comments last Saturday, claiming Israel's intelligence agency played a role in the September 25 referendum, citing as proof the waving of Israeli flags during celebrations for the overwhelming "yes" victory.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denied the claims on Sunday, noting Turkey's support for the Hamas terrorist organization which rules Gaza, before denying Erdogan's charge.
"I can understand why those who support Hamas want to see the Mossad wherever things don't work out for them," Netanyahu said. "But Israel had no part in the Kurdish referendum, aside from the deep, natural and years-long sympathy of the Jewish people to the Kurdish people and its aspirations.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Sukkot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)