Iran has reopened two border crossings with regions held by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Iran's semiofficial ISNA news agency reported Tuesday.
Masud Bateli, the director of the Iraqi side of the Haji Omaran crossing, told reporters that the Parwezkhan, Haji Omaran and Sayran Ban crossings have all been reopened to human and commercial traffic. According to Bateli, operations at the three crossings have now fully resumed.
The crossings were closed after the KRG held a unilateral independence referendum last September.
"The Tamarchin and Parviz Khan border crossings with Irbil and Sulaymaniyah that were closed at the formal request of the Iraqi government were reopened Thursday," ISNA quoted the Iranian Consulate in Irbil as saying.
About 50 percent of Iran's exports to Iraq go through Parviz Khan border crossing.
Faramarz Akbari, Ghasr-e Shirin's governor, was quoted in state news agency IRNA as saying that reopening the Parviz Khan crossing would put thousands of Iranians back to work.
Iran closed three of its four crossings with the KRG on Oct. 15 upon the request of the Iraqi central government. Ihsan al-Shammari, adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, said Monday all of the border gates belonging to the KRG were handed over to the central government.
Tension rose in the region when the KRG unilaterally held an independence referendum on Sept. 25, and Kurds overwhelmingly voted to secede. The central government in Baghdad imposed tough measures and decided to take over border gates and airports in the KRG-held areas.
The referendum was not only rejected by the central government but also by neighboring countries. Likewise, opposition parties in the KRG have blamed the government for the "misstep" that dragged the region into a deeper economic and political crisis.
In response to the referendum, Iraqi government forces and Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militias launched an offensive on Oct. 16.
A mainly bloodless advance by Iraqi forces saw them reclaim the entire oil-rich province of Kirkuk, stripping the KRG of a major chunk of its oil revenues and dealing a crippling blow to its hope for independence.
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