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Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Iran reopens border crossing with Iraqi Kurdistan

AFP , Wednesday 25 Oct 2017
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Iran on Wednesday reopened one of its three border crossings with Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, which it closed in response to last month's vote for independence, its director said.

"Today, the Bashmagh border crossing was reopened," its director Jahangir Bakhshi told state broadcaster IRIB.

"No decision has been taken by authorities regarding the Haji Omran and Parvizkhan border posts," he added.

The Bashmagh crossing lies on the road to the city of Sulaimaniyah in the south of the autonomous region, a bastion of opposition to Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani, who called the September 25 independence referendum.

The vote antagonised not only Baghdad but also neighbouring Iran and Turkey, which are fearful of anything that might stoke separatist sentiment among their own large Kurdish minorities.

Iran, like other governments around the world, last month halted flights to Iraqi Kurdish airports at the request of the Baghdad government.

On October 15, Baghdad announced that Tehran had agreed to close its land border with Iraqi Kurdistan too.

Baghdad has also sent in troops and allied militia to wrest back control of swathes of disputed territory long claimed by the Kurds, leaving the autonomous Kurdish region's finances in disarray.

On Wednesday, Iraqi Kurdish leaders offered to freeze the outcome of last month's vote, taking a step back in the crisis. There was was no immediate response from Baghdad.

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