Kurd flag
© Salin Hamed/AFP
Iraqi Kurdistan parliament on Friday passed a law assigning the Kurdistan election body to hold an independence referendum on September 25 in the Kurdistan Region and disputed areas, the Rudaw news agency reported.

The Kurdish parliament holds today an "extraordinary" session, the first in two years.

The legislative body has not convened since October 2015 because of political rivalry between the Kurdish parties.

In June, Masoud Barzani, the president of the Iraqi Kurdistan, set September 25 as the date for an independence referendum. The announced referendum has been widely criticized by a number of countries, including Russia, Turkey, Iran and the United States. While Moscow voiced support for Iraq's unity and territorial integrity, Washington reportedly asked Iraqi Kurdistan's President Masoud Barzani to postpone holding the region's independence referendum. Earlier this week, the Iraqi parliament voted against the Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum.

The leader of Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani said Thursday that he might consider the proposal of several Western countries to postpone the planned referendum if a suitable alternative is found.

Comment: Baghdad claims unilateral steps taken by Iraqi Kurdistan for independence violates the country's constitution and the referendum threatens Iraqi and international security. Iraq's constitution recognizes Kurdistan as an autonomous region and is run by the Kurdistan Regional Government.