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Iran Closes Airspace to Kurdistan Region at Baghdad’s Request

Iran Closes Airspace to Kurdistan  Region at Baghdad’s RequestIran Closes Airspace to Kurdistan  Region at Baghdad’s Request

Iran on Sunday announced a halt of air traffic to and from Iraq’s Kurdistan region, a day ahead of the region’s planned secession vote, spokesperson for Iran's Supreme National Security Council said.

Keyvan Khosravi said "upon the request of the central government in Baghdad, the Islamic Republic has suspended all Iranian flights bound for Sulaymaniyah and Irbil airports as well as flights from the Kurdistan Regional Government wanting to pass over Iranian airspace," IRNA reported.

He also criticized the "hasty decisions of KRG officials" pressing to go ahead with the vote despite the region still grappling with the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

"This decision has limited the power and constructive role of KRG in Iraq and poses a serious challenge to the region," he said.

The air embargo is the first concrete measure against Monday’s Kurdish referendum which is rejected by the government in Baghdad and by Iraq’s neighbors, Iran and Turkey along with the US.

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

KRG leader Massoud Barzani has been pressing ahead with his plans to hold the September 25 referendum despite the regional and international calls to drop the bid and negotiate a deal with the central government in Baghdad.

 

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