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Last flight departs as Iraq imposes ban for Kurdish independence vote

02 October 2017

Monday's vote in the three provinces of autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan in the country's north and some disputed areas was held in defiance of Baghdad, which declared it illegal, and despite worldwide opposition.

"The responsibility of the Kurds, Iraqi people and concerned to stand against the beginning of divisions", Nasrallah said.

The statement did not give more detail or indicate specifically whether Iraqi forces were planning to move toward the external border posts controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) from the Iranian and Turkish side.

USA officials on Friday declared that the independence referendum was illegitimate.

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

"A military exercise joint between iranian armed forces and units of the iraqi army will take place in the next few days along the common border", said to journalists the spokesman of the iranian armed forces, Massoud Jazayeri.

Iraq's government has also attempted to pressure Kurds to walk back their vote, demanding that they hand over control of airports and borders and imposing a ban on worldwide flights to and from Iraqi Kurdistan on Friday.

Kurdistan Region's Presidency (KRP) announced that British Defense Secretary, Michael Fallon has sent a letter to President Masoud Barzani urging the Kurdistan Region to reach a solution with Baghdad and other neighboring countries over the Kurdish independence referendum.

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"An independent state is not being founded in northern Iraq, but on the contrary a continuously bleeding wound is being opened", he said.

According to the Iraqi media, the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi released a statement expressing the premier's appreciation for the grand cleric's stance after Ayatollah Sistani called on the Kurds to return to the "constitutional" path. At the same time, he rejected any challenge to Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"Strong support for Iraq's national unity is the real support for the Iraqi Kurds", said Amir-Abdollahian, who formerly served as Iran's deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs.

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Last flight departs as Iraq imposes ban for Kurdish independence vote