Iranian Kurds rally in support of Iraqi Kurdish referendum

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IRBIL, Iraq – Thousands of Iranian Kurds have poured into the streets in Iran in support of the Iraqi Kurds' voting in a landmark referendum for independence from Baghdad.

Footage shared online by Iranian Kurds showed demonstrators waving lit mobile phones in the air and chanting their support into the night on Monday.

The demonstrations took place in towns of Baneh, Saghez and Sanandaj.

Iranian state television on Tuesday acknowledged the demonstrations, a rarity in the Islamic Republic.

Iran, Turkey and Iraq's central government in Baghdad have all opposed the referendum. Iran has been holding military exercises near the Iraqi border in a show of its displeasure.

The Iraqi Kurdish push for independence comes as Kurdish forces captured extensive territory in fighting against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

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