Iran Denies Reports Tehran Closed Border With Kurdish Iraq

Iran's Tasnim news agency says Iran closed the border over last month's independence vote ■ Iran had previously blocked direct flights to and from Kurdistan

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Iran's Foreign Ministry on Sunday denied reports that Tehran had closed a border crossing with northern Iraq in response to an independence referendum in Iraq's Kurdish region last month, the Iranian Students' News Agency reported.

"As we announced earlier, we blocked our airspace to the Kurdish region on a request from the central government of Iraq, and as far as I know, nothing new has happened in this area," ISNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi as saying. 

Iran's Tasnim news agency earlier reported that Iranian authorities had closed a main border crossing to Iraq's Kurdish region. "Considering the developments in Iraq's Kurdistan, Iran has closed its Bashmagh border gate with Iraq's Kurdistan," Tasnim said without giving an official source. 

On Thursday, President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said that Turkey will gradually close border gates with northern Iraq in coordination with the central Iraqi government and Iran, in response to an independence referendum in Iraq’s Kurdish region.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim is expected to visit Baghdad on Sunday to meet with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi.

On September 25th, the day of the referendum, Iran announced a ban on direct flights to and from Kurdistan on Sunday, while Baghdad asked foreign countries to stop direct oil trading with the Kurdish region and demanded that the KRG hand over control of its international airports and border posts with Iran, Turkey and Syria.

Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top military adviser to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Iran regarded the referendum as "treason" against the Iraqi Kurds. "Iran has blocked air traffic to this region but we are hopeful that the four neighboring countries will block the land borders with Iraq too," he was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

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