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Regional Powers Move to Restrict Kurds Following Referendum Vote

Regional Powers Move to Restrict Kurds Following Referendum Vote”

Speaking in Istanbul, Binali Yildirim said the administration of northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) had made a mistake by holding the illegitimate referendum on Monday despite strong opposition from all neighboring countries, including Turkey, Iran, and Iran's central government.

The announcement on Saturday came amid rising tensions in the wake of a controversial secession referendum in Iraq's Kurdistan region, where nearly 93 percent of voters backed a split from Baghdad.

Earlier in the week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that Iran would remain an eternal friend of Kurds despite their recent vote to split from Iraq, AzVision reports.

On Saturday, military spokesman General Masoud Jazayeri told Iranian state television that commanders have made a decision to hold joint war games with Iraq.

It has since suspended all flights to and from Iraqi Kurdistan and warned that all border agreements will be nullified, although border crossings are still open.

Iraq and Turkey have also held joint military drills.

Iran has ordered a fuel embargo on the Iraqi Kurdistan region, according to Iranian state news agency IRNA.

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In retaliation to the referendum, Iran was not allowed until further notice this week, the transportation of petroleum products to and from iraqi Kurdistan.

Iraq's military prepared Saturday to take control of the global borders of the northern Kurdish region.

The referendum was also held in disputed areas between Erbil and Baghdad, including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

The United States on Friday said it "does not recognise" the Iraqi-Kurdish referendum on independence, calling on all parties to reject the use of force and engage in dialogue.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi wants the referendum, in which 92% of voters backed secession, to be annulled.

Iraq has planned to take control of the autonomous Kurdistan's border "in coordination" with Iran and Turkey, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said, Friday (9/29/2017).

Neighbouring Turkey and Iran also strongly opposed the vote, fearing it would inflame the separatist aspirations of their own sizable Kurdish population.

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