Iranian Supreme Leader’s top adviser for international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati rejected media reports that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) forces participated in the Iraqi army operations in Kirkuk.
“The IRGC plays no role in the Kirkuk operations,” Velayati told reporters in Tehran on Tuesday.
Noting that most of the Kurdish people are opposed to the “ambitious measures” by the Iraqi Kurdistan region’s president Massoud Barzani, he said that the Iraqi government gained control of the Kirkuk region almost without any resistance by the Kurds.
“Mr. Barzani should accept that he has made a mistake and admit it and try to make up for this mistake,” Velayati said.
Iraqi forces captured a military base, an airport and oilfields outside the Northern city of Kirkuk after the prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, ordered the army to “impose security” on the Kurdish-held territory.
Iraqi troops began advancing on the oil city in the early hours of Monday morning.
Baghdad and the Kurdish region have long been at odds over the fate of Kirkuk, a dispute that has grown more bitter since the Kurds voted for independence last month in a non-binding referendum.