Iran re-opens border crossing with Iraqi Kurdistan region

A view of Hajj Omran border between Iran and Kurdistan, Iraq October 14, 2017. Picture taken October 14, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 October 2017
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Iran re-opens border crossing with Iraqi Kurdistan region

BEIRUT: Iran opened a border crossing with the Kurdistan region of Iraq Wednesday after having closed it following last month’s vote in favor of independence in the Kurdish area, Iranian state media reported.
Iran backs the Shi’ite-led central government in Baghdad in its opposition to Kurdish secession, and Iranian-backed militias assisted government forces when they seized a number of Kurdish cities last week.
The decision comes on the same day as the Kurdish Regional Government offered to put their independence drive on hold, stepping up efforts to resolve a crisis in relations with Baghdad via dialogue rather than military means.
“After the referendum and changes within the Kurdistan region our borders with the Kurdistan region of Iraq were closed... today the Bashmagh border is open,” Jahangir Bakhshi, the head of customs for the border crossing, said, according to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) news agency.
The report made no mention the KRG’s offer for resolving the dispute through talks.
The Bashmagh border crossing is located approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of the city of Sulaimaniya in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Last week, Iraqi security forces took control of several cities, including the oil-rich Kirkuk, from Kurdish forces in a lightning assault. Shi’ite fighters from the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), many of whom have been armed and trained by Iran, took part in the military action.
Prior to the assault, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of foreign operations for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, traveled to Iraq’s Kurdistan region to encourage Kurdish leaders to withdraw their forces, known as Peshmerga, from Kirkuk.
Peshmerga commanders have accused Iran of orchestrating the operation, a charge Iranian officials have denied.
Bakshi said on Wednesday that it was not clear when the other borders points between Iran and the Kurdistan region of Iraq would reopen.
There are approximately 20 billion dollars of annual cross-border trade through the Bashmagh border point Bakhshi said, according to IRIB.


Iran commemorates war with parade of tanks, missiles

Updated 23 September 2019

Iran commemorates war with parade of tanks, missiles

  • Saudi Arabia and the US have accused Iran of a Sept. 14 drone and missile attack on oil facilities

JEDDAH: As Saudi Arabia prepared to celebrate its National Day with entertainment events, firework displays and cultural events, Iran staged a military parade in Tehran on Sunday with tanks, missiles and armored vehicles.

President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian military leaders saluted as ranks of soldiers marched past them in tight unison, followed by an array of military hardware.

Among the weapons on display in the parade, held to mark the anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, was an upgraded warhead for the Khorramshahr ballistic missile, said to have a range of 2,000km, and the Kaman 12 drone with a range of 1,000km. Speedboats and warships were shown in video footage on state TV.

Saudi Arabia and the US have accused Iran of a Sept. 14 drone and missile attack on oil facilities in the east of the Kingdom. After the attack the Pentagon ordered US troops to reinforce Saudi air and missile defenses.

In a speech at Monday’s parade, Rouhani denounced the US presence. “Foreign forces can cause problems and insecurity for our people and for our region,” he said.

“If they’re sincere, then they should not make our region the site of an arms race.

“Their presence has always brought pain and misery ... the farther they keep themselves from our region and our nations, the more security there will be.”

The US aims to avoid war with Iran and the additional troops are for “deterrence and defense,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.

“If that deterrence should continue to fail, I am also confident that President Trump would continue to take the actions that are necessary,” he said.