ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – An Iranian diplomat in the Kurdistan Region on Wednesday said the Iraqi government’s ban on international flights to and from airports in Erbil and Sulaimani would be lifted soon.
Saadullah Masoudiyan, the Iranian Consul in Sulaimani Province, told reporters that both airports would soon be opened for international flights as efforts to repair relations between Erbil and Baghdad have progressed.
“As far as I am aware, good progress has been made between [Erbil and Baghdad] on the technical levels,” Masoudiyan said, adding that the Erbil and Sulaimani airports will reopen ”in a short period.”
The Iranian diplomat, who hopes finally to be able to fly from Sulaimani to Tehran, said that “the issues between Erbil and Baghdad over border crossings and airports have been resolved.”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will make all possible efforts to resolve the issues between Erbil and Baghdad and stabilize the situation,” Masoudiyan added.
Regarding Iran’s ties with the Kurdistan Region, he affirmed that “relations will continue as strong as before and will even expand further.”
Masoudiyan highlighted the “fruitful meeting” between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif—on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference last week—where they discussed Erbil-Baghdad relations.
Baghdad imposed an international flight ban on both the Erbil and Sulaimani airports on Sep. 29, 2017, days after the historic Kurdish independence referendum.
The embargo has greatly affected the semi-autonomous region’s economy, forcing many foreign and local companies to close their offices and operations, with hundreds losing their jobs.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany