Speaking in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Davood Ahmadzadeh said that the meeting provoked serious internal and external reactions and strongly involved public opinion of the Kurdistan Region and Iraqi officials, adding: The meeting to normalize relations with the Zionist regime, held in Erbil, Kurdistan, was condemned by officials in Baghdad and the Kurdish-populated provinces. On the other hand, the Supreme Council of the Iraqi Judiciary has ordered the arrest of some of the figures who attended the meeting to normalize relations with the Zionist regime, which shows that Baghdad is still opposed to such issues and is well aware of the danger of disintegration.

Ahmadzadeh stressed: In the past, that is to say in the case of Sudan, we were witness to a plan to dismantle and implement such a case by the Zionist regime.

Regarding the reaction of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the holding of the meeting, he said: Iran has also considered the recent meeting in line with legitimizing the Zionist regime and disrupting the security of the region.

Explaining about Tel Aviv’s purpose in holding the meeting and influencing in Iraqi Kurdistan, he said: Over the years, the Zionist regime has tried to increase its influence in Iraqi Kurdistan, and this trend continued until the previous Iraqi referendum, called Federalism, and the Zionist regime’s flag was hoisted in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Ahmadzadeh continued: This action showed that the Israelis are using separatism and are creating divisions among different ethnic groups, and along with this, existence of oil and pristine resources in the Kurdistan region has made the Zionist regime officials redouble their efforts to gain access to those huge and cheap resources.

The expert on West Asia affairs, noting that the Zionist regime is one of the old supporters of pro-Western Kurdish parties, said: The Zionist regime now has the potential to draw more US attention to the issue of Kurdistan through Jewish lobbies; because a percentage of the Israeli oil comes from Iraqi Kurdistan, and those imports are critical for Tel Aviv, especially because of the Zionist regime’s lack of access to oil resources in the Persian Gulf littoral countries.

Regarding the objectives of the recent meeting, he said: Normalizing relations and making public the presence of the Zionist regime in Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as disintegration of that region, were the two main targets of the meeting in the Kurdish-populated part of Iraq.

Noting that this tense issue has a historical background, Ahmadzadeh said: The Zionist regime has repeatedly contacted Mustafa Barzani, the father of Massoud Barzani, the current head of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, to implement this doctrine. The result of such efforts was Mustafa Barzani’s two visits to Israel: the first in 1968 and the second in 1973. However, such efforts were unsuccessful, and the Kurds neither supported the Zionist regime nor were hostile to the Palestinians.

Commenting on the background of the Zionist regime’s attempts in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, the expert said: In the aftermath of the fall of Saddam Hussein and the US invasion of Iraq in 2001, the Zionist regime sought to establish secret and overt relations with some of the leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan under the guise of military advisers as well as security cooperation.

He stressed: For the Zionist regime, the ‘Kurdistan Region’ is a non-Arab ally, an ally that is not directly involved in the Palestinian issue.

According to the expert, since the formation of the Zionist regime, the regime has sought to establish a “peripheral alliance”, a strategy devised by David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of the Zionist regime, with an aim of expanding the regime’s relations with non-Arab countries and groups in the region to end its isolation.

As for the reasons regarding inclination of some Kurds towards the Zionist regime and their attempt for widespread autonomy, Ahmadzadeh explained: According to Kurdish analysts in the region, some Iraqi Kurds, apart from ethnic reasons, are seeking to become independent from their respective governments.

He continued: Meanwhile, some eccentric currents (currents in the Kurdish provinces of Iraq, including those attributed to Massoud Barzani) are focused on the disintegration of Iraqi Kurdistan. Accordingly, there have been efforts in recent years, and recently we have witnessed a meeting in Iraqi Kurdistan focusing on the Zionist regime and the partition of Iraq.

Referring to the recent referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan, he said: The first people who welcomed the referendum and secession of Iraqi Kurdistan were the Zionists.

Regarding Iran’s approach to the normalization of relations, Ahmadzadeh explained: Iran’s security concerns and sensitivity to the presence of the Zionist regime on its borders are the main reasons for Iran’s opposition to the plan to normalize relations with that regime.

He said: The Zionist regime believes that it can have close and strategic military and intelligence cooperation with the ‘Kurdistan Region’ and establish a strong foothold in its neighborhood with Iran. Meanwhile, in the media uproar of the meeting, Iran officially protested to the Kurdish regional authorities, condemning any separatism and the presence of insecure elements in the region and openly stated that it would respond to it.

Ahmadzadeh stressed that presence of the Zionist regime as a factor of insecurity can undoubtedly aggravate and complicate the political situation in Iraq and the region and this issue needs consultation of Iran and Iraq to prevent any security breaches and ethnic and religious divisions due to the presence of the Zionist regime.