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Iran reopens border posts with Iraqi Kurdistan

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Iran has reopened all its border crossings with Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday, after their closure over a controversial independence vote. Bahram Ghassemi said the two frontier crossings of Haji Omran and Parwezkhan had been reopened, without giving a specific date, after the Bashmaq frontier post began working again in October.

Iran closed the border crossings after Iraqi Kurds on September 25 voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence at a referendum Baghdad insisted was illegal. Iran and Turkey, which have Kurdish communities of their own, were also against the poll. The plebiscite sparked a bitter standoff between the Kurds and Iraq’s central government.

Federal security forces then seized control of disputed oil-rich zones in the north of the country that had been held by the Kurds, shattering their dreams of building a viable state. Last month, the Iraqi supreme court ruled the poll to be “unconstitutional”.

Iraqi Kurdish prime minister Nechirvan Barzani earlier this month said he “respected” the ruling and had “no problem” with the federal government over the issue of border control. The federal government has demanded the handover of border posts and airports in the Kurdish region.

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