Iraq closes southern border with Iran amid protests on both sides: reports

The border will remain shut until further notice but will not affect goods or trade.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq has closed its southern border with Iran at the request of Tehran, security sources said on Saturday.

According to an Iraqi security source and an Iranian diplomat, the southern Shalamcheh border crossing has been closed due to ongoing protests in both countries, Reuters reported.

The Iraqi security source said the move came at the request of the Iranian government.

They added that the border would remain shut until further notice and that it would not affect goods or trade.

The protests in Iraq over the past month and a half reflect widespread dissatisfaction with the economy, including high levels of unemployment, the dismal state of public services, and widespread government corruption.

Demonstrators are calling for radical change in Iraq’s political system, which they say fails to address their needs, but, rather, serves the interests of a small governing elite.

On Friday, a car bomb exploded in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, killing and injuring up to 18 people, Iraq’s Defense Ministry said.

Related Article: Car bombing kills at least 1, injures 16 in Baghdad protest square

According to Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights, since they began in early October, widespread protests in Iraq have resulted in the deaths of over 300, while more than 12,000 have been injured.

The United Nations, as well as Amnesty International, have called for an end to the bloodshed and urged security forces to show restraint against protestors.

In southern Iran, meanwhile, demonstrators are protesting against a rise in fuel prices. At least one person has been killed in the riots, according to local news reports.