Nechirvan Barzani

Pope Francis and Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani

Nechirvan Barzani is the current Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraqi Kurdistan. Nechirvan Barzani is the nephew of the KRG President, Masoud Barzani, and grandson of KDP founder, Mustafa Barzani.

Early Life

Prime Minister Barzani was born in 1966, and was known to travel with his father, a Kurdish diplomat, on diplomatic trips when he was a child. Nechirvan Barzani is from the Barzani tribe, and like the rest of his family, is affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

When his father suddenly died of a heart attack in 1987, Nechirvan Barzani was primed to begin his political career. Barzani held several political positions in the KRG before being elected Prime Minister in 1999, serving for nearly 10 years. After a brief hiatus, Nechirvan Barzani returned to the job in 2012.[1]

Kurdistan Oil Exports

A major proponent of Kurdish oil exports, Prime Minister Barzani is credited with the KRG’s exporting oil to Turkey, which could have presented many problems because of the volatile history of Turkey’s treatment of its Kurds. [2]

Barzani is also working to perfect an oil deal with the central Iraqi government in Baghdad, which would see Iraqi Kurdistan export 500,000 barrels of oil per day, and receive a portion of the Iraqi budget in return.

Nechirvan Barzani on Independence

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has long been very vocal of his disapproving of Baghdad’s government, and has made it known that the Kurds will do what is necessary to protect their own economic interests. In a recent interview with Reuters, he said “There is no loyalty to a country called Iraq.” [3]

However, Nechirvan Barzani has stated that this is not the time to seek independence. The fight against ISIS is of primary concern, and PM Barzani is seeking humanitarian and military aid before seeking independence.