January 2, 2018 / 6:25 AM / 15 days ago

Iran re-opens border crossings with Iraqi Kurdistan region

LONDON (Reuters) - Iran re-opened two crossings with Iraqi Kurdistan on Tuesday that it had closed after a referendum in favour of independence for the semi-autonomous region, Iran’s ISNA news agency reported.

After the referendum in September 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered troops to take control of areas claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurdish government.

Abadi wants to take control of the border crossings between the Kurdish region and Iran, Turkey and Syria, including one through which an oil export pipeline crosses into Turkey.

Iran, which has its own Kurdish minority, also opposed independence for Iraqi Kurds, and at the request of Baghdad closed its borders with the Kurdish region in northern Iraq and halted all flights there and back.

“Tamarchin and Parviz Khan border crossings with Erbil and Sulaymaniyah that have been closed off by the formal request of Iraqi government, were opened on Thursday,” ISNA quoted the consulate of the Islamic Republic in Erbil as saying.

About 50 percent of Iran’s exports to Iraq take place through Parviz Khan border crossing.

Faramarz Akbari, Ghasr-e Shirin’s governor was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA that the opening of Parviz Khan would put thousands of Iranians back to work.

Tehran already re-opened the Bashmagh crossing with Iragi Kurdish region in October.

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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