Iran and Iraq to hold joint border drills

Posted October 02, 2017

The Iraqi defence ministry said on Friday that it plans to take control of the borders of its Kurdistan region "in coordination" with Iran and Turkey, indicating that Iraqi forces would move toward the external border posts controlled by Kurdish authorities from the Iranian and Turkish side.

"We will not allow even one single person from Iraq, from the Iraqi civil aviation, or from the office of the government to come to the Erbil and Sulaimnai global airports without our decision", Bawa Murad said.

The results of the referendum are yet to be declared, but a "yes" vote is expected.

Earlier this week, Iraqi soldiers also took part in a joint military exercise with Turkey.

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"A joint military exercise between Iran's armed forces and units from the Iraqi army will be held in the coming days along the shared border", Iranian armed forces spokesman Masoud Jazayeri told reporters in Tehran.

Iran has embargoed exports and imports of fuel products to Iraqi Kurdistan in response to its controversial independence referendum, state broadcaster IRIB said.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also addressed Iraq's neighbors, to refrain from what he called "unilateral actions and the use of force".

Kurdish officials have called the measures illegal and have pleaded for global support in confronting threats from Baghdad, Tehran, and Ankara.

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Erdogan expressed sorrow that Iraqi Kurds had acclaimed the recent independence referendum with Israeli flags.

After the vote, Iraq, Iran and Turkey demanded that the KRG surrender control over its outer border areas with Turkey, Iran and Syria.

"We are not ready to discuss or have a dialogue about the results of the referendum because it is unconstitutional", he said in a speech on Monday night.

It thanked Ayatollah Sistani for his stances on the need for safeguarding Iraq's national unity and constitutional rule.

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But the vote has set off alarm bells in Baghdad, where the government has said it is determined to prevent a breakup of the country, and in Iran and Turkey, which fear the vote will fuel similar ambitions among their own significant Kurdish populations.