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Iran, Iraq hold joint drills along borders

Iran, Iraq hold joint drills along borders”

He added that the move is a "dangerous escalation".

Iran has already closed its borders and stopped flights to Iraqi Kurdistan airports following a referendum on support for independence from Iraq on Monday.

Iran's Mehr news agency said the military exercises were a response to the Kurdish independence referendum.

It appeared the maneuvers were the first joint military exercises between Iran and Iraq since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

On Tuesday, lieutenant commander of Iran's Ground Force, Nozar Nemati, said that "The ongoing war games are staged given the recent events in the region and the Army uses all its power to safeguard the national interests, the Iranian borders and sustainable security", Nemati was quoted as saying by Fars.

"The armed forces of both countries will increase cooperation in training and war games".

Iraq's Kurds overwhelmingly backed independence in Monday's referendum, defying neighbouring countries which fear the vote could lead to renewed conflict in the region.

While visiting the city, Mr Barzani said: "Kirkuk is a Kurdistani city which should become an example for the coexistence of nations and religions".

He concluded the Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkey and Iraq will not remain silent towards such plots and will adopt an appropriate measure to cope with any move to divide the region.

The Iraqi Defence Ministry has said it planned to take control of the borders "in coordination" with Iran and Turkey, without indicating whether Iraqi forces were to move toward the external border posts controlled by the KRG from the Iranian and Turkish side.



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