HALABJA (Kurdistan 24) – A delegation of representatives from 12 Iraqi ministries arrived in Sulaimani on Sunday to formalize and recognize five new international border crossings with Iran, according to a source within the delegation.
The border gates are located in the provinces of Sulaimani and Halabja, which are located on the Iranian border.
The gates are unofficially known as Sayran Ban, Pishta, Shushme, Tawella, and Kele, the source told Kurdistan 24 on condition of anonymity.
Local authorities in the Kurdistan Region have tried for years to get the border crossings official recognition from Baghdad, but disagreements between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government of Iraq had delayed the process so far.
“The delegates will stay in Sulaimani for a week to prepare a comprehensive report after visiting the crossings, which will later be given to the Prime Minister of Iraq, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, who will make the final decision regarding these border crossings,” a local Kurdish official told Kurdistan 24.
Pressure from Tehran to open additional crossing points with the autonomous Kurdistan Region has also increased over the past few months, to help boost exports and the creation of free-trade industrial zones as Iran’s economy continues to languish under the US sanctions.
The Kurdistan Region currently shares three international border crossings with Iran: Haji Omaran, Bashmaq, and Parwezkhan.
Editing by Nadia Riva
(Additional reporting by Avin Atta)