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Iran reopens border crossing with Iraq’s Kurdistan

A file photo of Bashmagh Border Crossing in Marivan County of Iran's northwestern Kordestan Province

Iran has reopened one of its border crossings with Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region after closing the terminal at Baghdad’s request in response to the secession referendum in the area.

Jahangir Bakhshi, the head of the Bureau of Customs in Marivan County of the northwestern Iranian Kordestan Province, announced the reopening of Bashmagh Crossing on Tuesday, Iran’s Young Journalists Club news agency reported.

Iraq had asked the Islamic Republic to close its border crossings with Kurdistan after the region held a controversial referendum on independence on September 25 in defiance of the central government, which views the vote as unconstitutional.

Opponents in Iraq and abroad argued that the plebiscite was the last thing that the already violence-torn Arab country needed at a time when it focused on military operations against the Daesh terrorists.

An official with the Kurdistan Regional Government shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote in the Kurdish independence referendum at a hotel in Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq, September 25, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

To avoid escalation following the referendum, Turkey was also asked to shut its crossings with Kurdistan.

Iraq also called on both neighbors to close their airspace to flights to and from the region.

On Tuesday, however, the Iraqi region’s government said it would freeze the results of the vote, and proposed open dialog with Baghdad based on the Iraqi Constitution, apparently in favor of defusing tensions.

Bakhshi said no decision had been made with regard to to other crossings linking Iran with the semi-autonomous region, namely Haji Omran, Piran Shahr and Parviz Khan.

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