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Iran Reopens Border Crossing With Iraq's Kurdish Region

Bashmakh Border Crossing between Iran and Iraq

Iran has reopened a border crossing with the Kurdish region of Iraq that was closed after last month's Kurdish vote for independence, Iranian state media reported.

Iran backs the Shi’ite-led central government in Baghdad in opposing the Kurdish bid for independence, and Iranian-backed militias assisted government forces in retaking control parts of the oil-rich Kirkuk Province from Kurdish Peshmerga forces last week.

The border reopening comes a day after the Kurdish regional government offered to put its independence drive on hold in a bid to defuse tensions and start a dialogue with Baghdad.

"After the referendum and changes within the Kurdistan region our borders with the Kurdistan region of Iraq were closed.... Today, the Bashmagh border is open," Jahangir Bakhshi, the head of customs for the border crossing, said, according to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) news agency.

The Bashmagh border crossing is located approximately 50 kilometers east of the city of Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Bakhshi said there was about $20 billion of annual cross-border trade through the Bashmagh crossing.

He said it was not clear when the other borders points between Iran and Iraq's Kurdish region would reopen.

"No decision has been made by the authorities regarding the Haji Omran and Parvizkhan border posts," he said.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP