Shwan Barzinji & Taha Hessian – Basnews – 22.10.2013 – Former Kurdistan Prime Minister and member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Dr. Barham Salih, is expected to visit Iran in the upcoming days.
There is speculation that Salih’s visit is aimed at getting Tehran’s blessing in replacing Iraqi President and head of PUK, Jalal Talabani. Following a stroke in December, there has been little information on the president’s health. The absence of Talabani hindered the PUK as they came in third during September’s elections; behind the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Gorran. Salih, who was Iraqi deputy Prime Minister for some time, will visit Tehran with a PUK delegation and they will meet Iranian senior officials. Iraqi Parliament speaker Usama Nujaifi says that Iraq’s situation is deteriorating, and “along with that there are efforts to hide information about Talabani’s health”. According to information obtained by Basnews, Gorran’s leader Nawshirwan Mustafa is also expected to visit Tehran. The visits are said to be a result of Iran’s wish to convince the parties to participate in the new Kurdish government cabinet. However, KDP official believes Iran involvement in Kurdistan political process is not a good sign for the region. “Our problems are solved internally and not abroad,” said KDP member of political bureau Kakamin Najar.