Friday , 20 May 2022
A Kurdish flag waves from the top of a new watertower built by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan political party Monday, Aug. 15, 2005 in the village of Shwan, outside Kirkuk, Iraq. Since 2003, there has been a steady influx of Kurdish returnees to the area around Kirkuk leading to the rebirth of villages such as Shwan, reversing Saddam Hussein's decades long policy of Arabization. (AP Photo/Jacob Silberberg)

Iran To Reopen Border With Iraq’s Kurdistan Region

RFL/RE – The chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, Mohammad Baqeri, says the country will reopen all its border crossings with the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq in the “coming days.”

Tehran had closed its borders with Iraq’s Kurdistan region after it voted for independence in a referendum on September 25.

“The border restrictions between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan will be lifted in the coming days,” the semiofficial ISNA news agency quoted Baqeri as saying on October 30.

Baqeri’s announcement came a day after Iraqi Kurdish leader Masud Barzani said he was stepping down after the independence referendum he had championed triggered a regional backlash, including from Tehran.

Baqeri warned that if the Kurdish autonomous region seceded from Iraq “there would be bloodshed in Iraq and neighboring countries would be affected.”

Iran has its own sizable Kurdish minority and has opposed independence for Iraqi Kurds.

At Baghdad’s request, Tehran closed its borders with Iraq’s Kurdish region and halted all flights to and from the region after the referendum.

Based on reporting by ISNA and Reuters