Iran halted flights to and from Kurdish regions in northern Iraq on Sunday following a plan by the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to hold a referendum on independence. Iran also started military exercises at the Kurdish border areas of the cities of Marivan, Baneh, Sardasht and Piranshahr. Meanwhile, the Special Forces are still manoeuvring in the main areas of the city to create an atmosphere of fear and terror.

A number of citizens in Baneh and Piranshahr told the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) about the flight of several fighters over the city’s sky. The fighter’s manoeuvre along the border lines started on the afternoon of the day when the news of the blockade of the Iranian airspace with the Kurdistan region was released. Breaking the sound wall of Piranshahr has particularly caused fear among the people.

The air embargo is the first concrete retaliatory measure against Monday’s referendum which was forcefully rejected by Baghdad’s government and Iraq’s powerful neighbours – Iran and Turkey – as well as Western powers, including the US.

Also, during the past few days, the Revolutionary Guards have transported widespread military equipment to the border areas in the cities of Sardasht, Piranshahr and Shno city (also known in Farsi as Oshnavieh). On Saturday, Sep 23, “Balakayatti” and “Haji Omran” areas of the Kurdistan province of Iraq have been bombarded by the Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.


“On Sunday, Ira also closed its airspace to flights originating in the Kurdish region,” Kayvan Khosravi, spokesman for Iran’s top security body said. “Iranian authorities stopped air traffic to the international airports of Erbil and Sulaimaniya, in Iraqi Kurdistan following a request from Baghdad”, Khosravi added.

Khosravi maintained that the Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG) “hasty decisions” to go ahead with the referendum would pose a “serious threat” for the security of the Kurdish people, Iraq and the region.

The Kurdish government of Iraq has decided to hold the Kurdish independence referendum today, on Monday, September 25.