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Iran backs ‘united’ Spain amid Catalan secession bid

Iran says it supports a “united” Spain and calls for national solidarity and peace in the face of a push for secession in Catalonia which has plunged the country into one of its worst crises in recent years. 

“Iran, in line with its principled policies, believes in a united, integrated and democratic Spain and calls for the preservation of stability, peace and national solidarity and respect for the provisions of the Spanish Constitution,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Thursday.

Tensions have been running high ever since an October 1 independence referendum in Catalonia which has been declared illegal by the federal government in Spain.

Almost 90 percent of voters backed Catalonia’s independence with a turnout of 43 percent but the plebiscite was marred by violence after Spanish police tried to halt the voting.

Protesters wave a Catalan flag as they gather in Barcelona during a general strike called by Catalan unions on October 3, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont signed an independence declaration on Tuesday but said the manifesto would not be implemented for several weeks to allow talks with the government in Madrid.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has ruled out dialog over the secession bid but left the door open for constitutional reforms.

Qassemi said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran underlines the need for adhering to the rule of law and avoiding violence and pursuing demands in a peaceful and legal manner.”

The spokesman called Spain “an important political and economic partner of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Europe,” saying Tehran is closely monitoring developments in Catalonia.

“Iran believes that the interests of all the people in Spain, and the country’s political stability and economic growth will be sustained more and better through national unity and synergy,” Qassemi said.

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