Iraqi Kurdish PM Cancels Meeting With Iran Minister in Protest Over Attack
Iraqi Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani canceled a meeting with Iran’s foreign minister at the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland in protest over Iranian missile strikes on the Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil, a source said on Wednesday.
Iran late on Monday struck Erbil, the capital of Iraq‘s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, with ballistic missiles in what it said was an attack on an Israeli spy headquarters, claims vehemently denied by Iraqi and Iraqi Kurdish officials.
The attack killed at least four people, including a prominent Kurdish businessman and his infant child.
The Iranian strikes have led to a rare diplomatic row with Iraq‘s government, with Baghdad filing a complaint against Iranian “aggression” at the United Nations Security Council and recalling its ambassador to Tehran.
Tehran has grown its influence in Iraq since the US toppled former ruler Saddam Hussein in a US-led invasion in 2003, particularly among Shi’ite Muslim factions, while the Kurds have traditionally been closer to the West.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, a Shi’ite, was brought to power with the backing of some pro-Iranian factions, but has been keen to show his government opposes any infringement on Iraq‘s sovereignty.