Iran says land border with Iraqi Kurdistan remains open

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, February 17, 2015. (AFP)
Updated 25 September 2017
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Iran says land border with Iraqi Kurdistan remains open

TEHRAN: Iran's foreign ministry said Monday that its border with Iraqi Kurdistan remained open despite its independence referendum, reversing an earlier statement.
A statement by the ministry said: "The land border between Iran and the Kurdistan region of Iraq is open."
"For now, only air borders between Iran and this region are closed," it added.
That went against an earlier statement by foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi, who had told reporters: "At the request of the Iraqi government, we have closed our land and air borders."
Iran had already announced on Sunday that it was stopping all flights to and from Iraqi Kurdistan in response to the independence referendum.
The vote is "illegal and illegitimate," Ghasemi said.
President Hassan Rouhani spoke overnight with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, saying: "The Islamic republic of Iran fully supports the central government of Iraq."
The referendum went ahead on Monday despite strong opposition from Baghdad and its neighbours, as well as Western governments including the United States.
Iran fears the vote could encourage separatists in its own Kurdish region, and said last week that independence could mean an end to all of border and security arrangements.
Iranian security forces have faced regular attacks by militant Kurdish separatists, primarily based across the border in Iraqi Kurdistan.


Letter to Qatar: Abandon PR, change attitude, and siege would be lifted

Updated 25 April 2018
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Letter to Qatar: Abandon PR, change attitude, and siege would be lifted

LONDON: Four Arab ambassadors have called on Qatar to improve relations with its neighbors, change its attitude and stop its support for extremism, terror and destabilization in the region.

The four ambassadors of Saudi Arabia (Mohammed bin Nawwa), Bahrain (Fawaz bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa), the UAE (Suleiman Al-Mazroui) and Egypt (Nasser Kamel) co-wrote a letter published on Wednesday in the Financial Times to answer an FT lead article titled “Qatar siege is meaningless.”

The ambassadors stressed in the letter that their governments had no plans to incorporate Qatar, as the FT claimed, but all they hoped for is that the Doha government committed to the international criteria to fight terrorism and “stop its support for terror and extremism in the region.”

In the letter, the four ambassadors reminded the paper that the prime minister of Qatar attended the wedding of the son of Abdel Rahman Al-Nueimi,who is listed on a US terror list, and is the main conduit to Al-Qaeda in Iraq where, according to the US, he funnelled millions of US dollars to the organization there.

The ambassadors added that Al-Nueimi is one of many sponsors of terror living and working in Qatar.

The ambassadors drew the readers’ attention to Qatar’s “double standard behavior” — saying one thing to the West, and doing the opposite.

They concluded the letter by demonstrating Qatar’s “duplicity.”

They said that Qatar has recently intensified the use of its media and PR to promote and support terror in the Middle East generally and in Saudi Arabia especially.

Recently Qatari broadcasters opened their airwaves to Houthi militia in Yemen and its propaganda calling for attacking Saudi Arabia.

In conclusion the ambassadors called on Doha to quit its public relations campaign and change its attitude — only then would the siege be over.