Iran closes airspace to Iraqi Kurdistan region

News ID: 4096703 -
TEHRAN, Sep. 24 (MNA) – Iran has blocked airspace for all flights from and to Iraqi Kurdistan region as KRG plans to hold an independence referendum on Mon., Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) announced today.

Spokesperson for Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) said Sunday that upon request from the central government of Iraq, the Islamic Republic has stopped all Iranian flights bound for Sulaymaniyah and Erbil airports as well as flights from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) intending to pass over the Iranian airspace.

Kayvan Khosravi noted that the decision was taken during an extraordinary session of the SNSC on Sunday morning aimed at evaluating the request of the Iraqi central government for blocking Iran’s borders with Kurdistan region.

“Due to failure of our benevolent political efforts and the persistence of KRG officials on holding the referendum, we accepted Iraq’s request to block our airspace and bar any flights bound from Kurdistan region,” he said.

He went on to add, “based on this decision, all flights bound from Iran to KRG airports have also been stopped.”

“The hasty decisions of some Kurdish authorities, while limiting the power of acting and constructive dialog of Kurds under the sovereignty of Iraq, will also bring the security of the Kurdish people, Iraq, and the region under serious threat,” he added.

KRG leader Massoud Barzani has been pressing ahead with his plans to hold the September 25 independence referendum despite international calls to drop the bid and negotiate a deal that does not threaten Iraq’s territorial integrity. The UN, the US, Iran and Turkey have voiced concerns over the Kurdish plan, saying the move could cause further instability and tension in the Middle East. 

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