Iran reopens border crossing with Iraqi Kurdistan amid independence row

By Ed Adamczyk  |  Oct. 25, 2017 at 7:45 AM
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Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Iran has reopened its major border crossing with Iraqi Kurdistan for travel and trade amid tensions over an independence referendum last month, the Iranian consulate in Erbil announced.

The crossing at Bashmaq was closed after Kurdish Peshmerga military forces and Iraqi troops, former colleagues in the battle against the Islamic State, began a conflict over oil-rich territory disputed by Iraq and Kurdistan.

The military clashes were prompted by a referendum last month in which Kurdish voters overwhelmingly approved independence from Iraq.

Jahangir Bakhshi, a customs official in Iranian Kurdestan Province, announced the reopening of the Bashmaq Crossing on Tuesday.

The crossing connects Mariwan, Iran, and Sulaymaniyah, Iraq.

Following the referendum, Iraq closed Kurdistan's two international airports. At the request of the Iraqi government, Iran closed three main crossings between Iran and Kurdistan on Oct. 15.

The announcement came after the Kurdistan Parliament proposed a freeze on referendum results in an attempt to start negotiations between the Independence-minded region and the Iraqi government.

Bakhshi said it's not yet known whether the remaining shuttered crossings will be reopened.

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