Iran to reopen border with Iraq Kurdish area-report

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TEHRAN, Oct 6 (Reuters) Iran plans to reopen a border with Iraq's Kurdish region, an Iranian news agency reported today, after Iraqi officials said it was closed last month in protest at the detention of Iranians by US forces.

Iran had not previously given a clear explanation for the closure reported by Iraqi officials. But the move followed the detention in Iraq's northern Kurdish area by US forces of an Iranian man, who was accused of supporting Iraqi militants.

Tehran has called the arrest of the detained man, identified as Mahmoudi Farhadi, as a violation of international law. It has also protested over the detention since January of five other Iranians, also accused by Washington of assisting militants.

An official from Iran's Supreme National Security Council said a senior delegation from Iraq's Kurdistan area had visited Tehran to discuss ''border problems'', ISNA news agency reported, without naming the official.

''As a result of negotiations, it was decided that starting tomorrow Iran would take action to open its borders,'' the official said.

It was not immediately clear if the ''action'' Iran would start taking from tomorrow meant the border would open the same day.

Iraqi officials said when the border was closed that shutting crossing points would push up prices, including the cost of vital imported products such as kerosene and foodstuffs.

Officials also said the closure came at an already sensitive time as it fell during the month of Ramadan when prices tend to rise because Muslims often gather with family and friends to celebrate the end of a day's fast with a big meal.

Despite the detentions in January, officials from the United States and Iran have sat down to three rounds of talks in Baghdad since May to discuss Iraqi security.

Iran says the latest detention means it needs to consider whether to continue the talks, which have been the most high-profile meeting between US and Iranian officials in almost three decades.

REUTERS SKB VC2010

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