Iran closes airspace to Iraqi Kurdistan region

September 24, 2017 - 17:1

TEHRAN - Keyvan Khosravi, the spokesman of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, announced on Sunday that Iran has closed its airspace to the Iraqi Kurdistan region upon a request by the Iraqi government.

“Given the fact that our country’s political efforts have been ineffective and the officials in the Kurdistan region insist on holding referendum, Iran closes airspace with the Kurdistan region upon the central government of Iraq,” he said.

Khosravi added, “Hasty decisions of some officials in the Kurdistan region will restrict the Kurds’ power in the Iraqi government and undermine security of the Kurdish people and create serious challenges in the region.”

The independence referendum in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (KRG) will be held on September 25.

Iraqi Kurds abroad began casting ballots on Saturday for independence referendum. The online vote for Kurdish expatriates is open for three days.

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani has said that Tehran only recognizes an “integrated” and “federal” Iraq.

In a meeting last week with Austrian President Alexander Van de Bellen at the UN, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said disintegration of the countries in West Asia is a very “dangerous act”.

During the annual coordination meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states, held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi insisted on Tehran’s strong opposition to independence referendum in the Kurdistan region.

While all countries are insisting on territorial integrity in Iraq, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed interest in partitioning Iraq and establishing an independent Kurdish state during a meeting with a delegation of 33 U.S. Republican congressmen.