Kurdish parties opposed to Barzani report attacks on offices overnight

Iran Supreme Leader to Iraqi PM: Don't Trust America

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the United Nations have appealed for calm.

He also informed parliament that he will not seek an extension of his term, which is set to expire November 1, but Barzani's senior assistant, Hemin Hawrami said the move did not mean the Kurdish leader was "stepping down".

As the Kurdish regional parliament was discussing Barzani's request to have his powers dissolved, dozens of his supporters rioted outside, apparently angry over the developments and trying to express their support for him.

The losses were a major blow to the Kurds' aspirations for their own state and prompted Mr Barzani to declare on Sunday that he wanted his presidential powers to be distributed among the region's prime minister, parliament and judiciary.

Armed protesters supporting Barzani stormed parliament as it met on Sunday to approve his resignation.

Mr Barzani, 71, said he did not want his term to be extended beyond Wednesday after a controversial referendum on Kurdish independence that he organised last month sparked a crisis with the government in Baghdad and neighbouring states.

And the suspension of the presidency, said Zaid Ali, author of "The Struggle for Iraq's Future", has created an impossible task for Kurdish lawmakers.

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The United States called Barzani's decision "an act of statesmanship during a hard period". President Barzani is a historic figure and courageous leader of his people, most recently in our common fight to destroy ISIS. "We were a state within a state", said Kamal Chomani, a nonresident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, in a phone interview Sunday.

Mr Barzani also accused leaders of the PUK, whose founder Jalal Talabani died days after the referendum, of being guilty of "high treason on 16 October".

The referendum, which garnered a 92.7% vote in favor of separation, was meant to advance the prospects of Kurdistan, the long-held dream of an independent Kurdish state on territories covering segments of northern Iraq.

He blamed the central government in Baghdad, which had dismissed the Kurdish vote as illegal, accusing it of escalating tensions.

He has said he would accept only a cancellation of the referendum and respect for the country's constitution.

Masoud Barzani has been president of the Kurdish Regional Government since 2005.

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