World Bulletin / News Desk
Iran on Sunday closed airspace with northern Iraq’s Kurdish region at the request of the Iraqi government, one day ahead of a controversial referendum on the secession of the region, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported.
“At the request of the Iraqi government, all air flights to the airports of Sulaymaniyah and Erbil airports have been halted,” IRNA quoted Kaivan Khosrawi, a spokesperson for the Iranian Supreme Security Council, as saying.
He said flights from the Kurdish region to Iran have also been stopped.
The spokesman said Tehran has taken the move over refusal of Kurdish officials to cancel the referendum.
The Iranian spokesperson warned that hasty decisions by officials in the Kurdish region “will threaten the security of Kurds, Iraq and the whole region”.
On Monday, Iraqis in areas held by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) -- and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad -- will vote on whether to secede from Iraq.
Along with Baghdad, Turkey, the U.S., Iran and the UN have all spoken out against the poll, saying it will only distract from the ongoing fight against Daesh and further destabilize the region.
Iraq’s central government has threatened to intervene militarily if the vote leads to violence.
KRG’s leader, Masoud Barzani, has said a “Yes” vote would not result in an automatic declaration of independence but would simply lead to further negotiations with Baghdad.
Mexico rejects claim, calling it 'manifestly false'
Supporters not deterred by president’s antics, performance
Republican leadership eyes Thursday vote on stopgap bill, but passage is uncertain without Democratic support
The head of the Venezuelan Supreme Court and the chief of the intelligence agency are also blacklisted, diplomatic sources said, making them subject to asset freezes and travel bans.
Army frequently carries out sweeping arrest campaigns in occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem
Icy roads contribute to at least 4 fatalities, fifth death attributed to exposure
Border patrol also harasses and uses violence against volunteers, who provide aid, reports say
Pentagon and U.S.-led coalition contradicted with each other on function of PYD/PKK-led SDF forces in Syria
Lee, a naturalized US citizen also known as Zhen Cheng Li, was arrested late Monday after he arrived at JFK International Airport in New York.
Israeli forces first detained al-Tamimi on Dec. 19 during an overnight raid
If France recognizes Palestine as a state, more countries will follow it, says Luxembourg FM
U.S. said Tuesday it was suspending a total of $65 million in aid to Palestine
Reason for crash not yet known, defense minister says
Electoral coalitions in Iraq are often formed based on sectarian and ethnic lines
Al-Aqsa officials are warned not to carry out any renovation work at flashpoint holy site, local official says