The referendum is opposed by the Iraqi central government in Baghdad as well as the neighbouring countries of Turkey and Iran, besides major global powers. He said the council had held a special meeting on the referendum and Baghdad's request.
"The map of Iraq is suffering attempts at division and tearing up of a united Iraq". That Israel, Iran's biggest foe in the region, has supported the independence vote, has played no small part in Tehran's calculus. Instead, regional president Massoud Barzani, is expected to use the result in secession negotiations.
Turkey has also opposed the referendum and warned that the disintegration of Iraq has the potential to turn into a major global conflict.
Voting started on Monday in northern Iraq despite intense worldwide and regional pressure to call the vote off.More news: Elliott's Franchise-Record Field Goal Wins It For The Eagles
The newspaper Iran, the official daily under the supervision of President Hassan Rouhani's administration, condemned the referendum in two front-page stories.
Citing the Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission, Erbil-based Rudaw TV said 78 percent of the more than five million eligible voters turned out to vote.
The European Union also cautioned political parties in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region against holding the independence referendum.
The zones disputed between the Kurds and the federal government in Baghdad are not part of the three provinces in northern Iraq that form the autonomous Kurdish area. "The Turkmen and the Arabs are basically boycotting this vote".More news: Graham-Cassidy bill a disaster for public health
"We hope for a unified Iraq to annihilate ISIS, and certainly a unified Iraq to push back on Iran", White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee-Sanders told reporters, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or Daesh.
In an address on state television Sunday evening, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi repeated his call for the vote to be canceled.
The referendum has raised alarm in Iraq's neighbours - Turkey, Iran and Syria - over concerns it could encourage their own Kurdish minorities to break away.More news: Reagan column: Trump shows willingness to stand up for America at UN
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