Iran blocks border crossings with Iraq's Kurdish region

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-15 19:14:07|Editor: Song Lifang
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BAGHDAD, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Iranian authorities on Sunday blocked its border crossing points with the region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq in response to controversial independence referendum held by the region last month, a local Kurdish media said.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has closed its border crossings with the Kurdistan region since this morning," said the official website of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), a major Kurdish party in which the Iraqi President Fuad Masoum is a leading figure.

The Iranian authorities blocked the crossings of Pervez Khan, Bashmakh and Haji Omran, the website quoted Sirwan Mohammed head of the Kurdistan's regional Commerce Chamber in Sulaimaniyah province, as saying.

"The Kurdish authorities do not yet know why these crossings have been closed," Mohammed said.

Earlier, Baghdad government adopted punitive measures that included suspension of international flights to the Kurdish region and blocked all the border crossings which are outside the control of the federal authorities, and call on the neighboring countries (Turkey and Iran) to help the Iraqi government in implementing its measures.

The independence of Kurdistan is opposed not only by the Iraqi central government, but also by most other countries, because it would threaten the integrity of Iraq and undermine the fight against Islamic State militants.

Iraq's neighboring countries, especially Turkey, Iran and Syria, fear the Iraqi Kurdish independence move would threaten their territorial integrity, as large population of Kurds live in those countries.

The U.S. has repeatedly warned the Kurds to postpone the referendum, saying such move could derail or confuse the war against IS.