Iraq's Autonomous Kurdish Region Plans Independence Referendum on September 25

Kurdish plan for full statehood is likely to be opposed by Baghdad

Iraqi Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani speaks during news conference with Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), in Baghdad, Iraq, September 29, 2016.
REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily/File Photo

Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region has called a referendum on independence to be held on Sept. 25, an official said on Wednesday, moving ahead with a plan for full statehood that is likely to be opposed by Baghdad. 

Hemin Hawrami, assistant to Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani, tweeted: "big news. Kurdistan Referendum for independence is on 25/9/2017." 

The date was set after a meeting of the Kurdish political parties chaired by Barzani, who heads the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) that rules the autonomous region, Kurdish TV Rudaw reported. 

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A senior Kurdish official, Hoshiyar Zebari, told Reuters in April a referendum would be held this year to press the case for "the best deal" on self-determination once Islamic State is defeated in Iraq

The Kurds are playing a major role in the U.S.-backed campaign to defeat Islamic State, the ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim group that overran about a third of Iraq nearly three years ago and also controls parts of Syria. 

The militants have been squeezed into a small area of Mosul, their de-facto capital in Iraq, as a push to retake the city reaches its climax.