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Prisoners in Iraqi Kurdistan to Return Home
National

Prisoners in Iraqi Kurdistan to Return Home

The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government has agreed to repatriate 80 Iranian prisoners kept in the Kurdish cities of Arbil and Sulaymaniyah in the coming days to serve their terms at home.   
The agreement was reached in the meetings of Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular, Parliamentary and Expatriates Affairs Hassan Qashqavi with high-ranking authorities of Iraqi Kurdistan in a recent trip, Fars news agency reported on Tuesday.  
The process of transferring the convicts will start soon on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan (starts June 18).  
Qashqavi had brought the issue up for discussion at a Sunday meeting with KRG Prime Minister Nechervan Barzani based on an earlier agreement on the repatriation of convicts between Iran and Iraq, ISNA reported.  
In the meeting, the two officials also exchanged views on political and security issues facing the region and discussed ways to increase mutual ties.

  Reliable Friend  
Referring to friendly relations between Iraqi Kurds and Iranian troops during the imposed Iraqi war against Iran (1980-88) and their cooperation against former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the Kurdish official described Iran as a "reliable friend and strategic partner" for Iraqi Kurds.
Barzani hailed Iran's immediate support for Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State militants and called for increased security cooperation between Iran and the Kurdistan region.  
The Iranian diplomat urged authorities in Arbil to help remove the obstacles hindering the activities of Iranian companies and businesspeople in Iraqi Kurdistan.
In a separate meeting with Speaker of the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament Yousif Muhammed on Monday, Qashqavi explored avenues for expansion of bilateral relations.  
The Kurdish speaker expressed pleasure with the upward trend in mutual collaboration.
Pointing to the common threat posed by IS and other terrorist groups to the region, Muhammed called for the continuation of security cooperation to help promote security in the two countries as well as the Middle East region.
Qashqavi referred to the campaign against drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism as an important area for collaboration, saying there are historical and cultural bonds between Iraqi Kurds and Iranians, a fact which promises a bright future for increased cooperation in political, security, economic, social and cultural areas.
The Iranian delegation had held another meeting with KRG Interior Minister Karim Sinjari on Saturday. 

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