Economy, Domestic Economy

Iraqi Kurdistan: No Decision to Reopen Haj Omran Checkpoint

A view of Haj Omran border crossing on the frontier between Iran and Iraqi KurdistanA view of Haj Omran border crossing on the frontier between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan

A local official in the Iraqi Kurdistan’s Haj Omran district stated that no official decision has been taken to reopen Haj Omran border checkpoint, although Iranian authorities had previously declared that the gate would be reopened soon.

Farznk Ahmed Lawka, mayor of Haj Omran District, refuted claims about reopening the border crossing between Kurdistan Region and Iran.

“There is no official statement or decision to reopen the gate,” he was quoted as saying by Kurdish news agency BasNews.

Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli confirmed earlier this month that Iran would soon reopen the gates of Haj Omran and Parvizkhan gates with the Kurdistan Region.

Iran’s Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri also said on October 30 that Iran would reopen all its border crossings with Iraq’s Kurdistan Region in the coming days.

In response to a September 25 referendum held by Iraqi Kurds, Iran closed all its border gates with the Kurdish region at the request of the Iraqi government.

Baghdad dismissed the vote as illegal. Iran and Turkey, which have Kurdish communities of their own, were also against the poll.

On October 25, Iran reopened Bashmaq border crossing with the Kurdistan Region. The decision came on the same day when Kurdistan Regional Government offered to freeze the results of the referendum as a step toward resolving its disputes with Baghdad through dialogue rather than military means.

The Bashmaq border crossing is located 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of the city of Sulaimaniya in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The two border crossings of Parvizkhan and Haj Omran, however, remain closed, although Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi said the two frontier crossings had been reopened.

More than 54% of Iran’s exports to Iraq are carried out through Parvizkhan border crossing.

Head of Kermanshah Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture Keyvan Kashefi has called on related officials to take measures and reopen the closed border crossings at the earliest, as the closures have led to the loss of some 3,000 local jobs.

“Exports and transit through this frontier crossing amounts to close to $3 billion per year and its closure will have a negative effect on the country’s overall exports,” he said.

Iraqi Kurdistan is a landlocked region heavily dependent on its neighbors.

Iran exported commodities worth more than $3 billion to Iraq during the six months to Sept. 22, with less than one-third of the exports going to the northern Kurdish region.


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