An Iraqi Kurdish man puts a sticker on a number plate reading in Kurdish "Kurdistan-Arbil" ahead of the upcoming independence referendum in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on September 7, 2017. AFP / SAFIN HAMED
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Plans for an independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan have angered Ankara and Tehran, but little has changed for Iranian Kurdish rebels at rear bases in the mountains of northern Iraq. A spokesman for the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) said reports of a joint Turkish-Iranian military operation against Kurdish rebels in Iraq were mainly intended to unsettle Iraqi Kurds.Speaking in Koysinjaq, 60 kilometers east of the autonomous region's capital Irbil, Aso Hassan Zada said Iran and Turkey had only one shared interest – their opposition to the Sept. 25 referendum.Iran, while equally opposed to the referendum, swiftly denied Erdogan's claim of any planned operation inside Iraqi Kurdistan.From another mountain base, Zelan Vejin, a leader of the PJAK whose fighters also operate along the border with Iran, shrugged off the threat of any joint operation.
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