The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Iran will lift border restrictions with Iraq's Kurdistan soon: Top commander

Iran Press TV

Mon Oct 30, 2017 05:48PM

A senior Iranian commander says the country will remove its border restrictions with Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region "in the coming days," lifting curbs imposed after last month's independence referendum in the region.

"Border restrictions between Iran and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region will be lifted soon and within the next few days," Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri told reporters on Monday, ISNA reported.

He added that if Kurdistan had implemented its plan to break away from Iraq, the country would have faced "war and long-term bloodshed," which would have also affected neighboring countries.

A spokesman for Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), Keyvan Khosravi, said on September 24 that Iran had closed its airspace to all flights to and from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq at the request of the country's federal government.

"At the request of the central government of Iraq, all flights from Iran to Sulaymaniyah and Erbil airports as well as all flights through our country's airspace originating in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region have been halted," Khosravi added.

In defiance of Iraq's stiff opposition, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held a non-binding referendum on September 25 on secession from the central government in Baghdad, which slammed the vote as unconstitutional.

The Iraqi government responded to the referendum by taking a number of punitive measures, including a campaign to seize back positions held by Kurdish forces since 2014, when they joined the fight against Daesh terrorists.

On October 16, the first day of the Iraqi military operations, federal forces retook control of the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk.

In a letter sent to the Kurdish parliament on Saturday, the KRG president, Massoud Barzani, announced that he would not extend his presidential term beyond November 1 after the independence referendum he championed backfired.

Barzani was elected president by the KRG parliament in 2005. He was re-elected in 2009 by a popular vote – Kurdistan's first direct presidential election. The parliament extended his mandate until August 20, 2015 after his second term expired in 2013.

Join the mailing list