Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iran has sent sophisticated missile systems to its borders with Kurdistan, upping the ante in a political and diplomatic crisis resulting from the autonomous region’s vote on independence from Iraq.
Iranian ISNA news agency’s Arabic service quoted Alireza Ilhami, deputy air force commander, saying that the reinforcements were meant to boost the defense readiness to counter “potential transgressions”.
He added that the deployment of missile systems also targets to enhance the security of the airspace at that region. The systems include state-of-the-art radar systems and rocket launchers.
Kurds headed to polling stations on Monday to vote in a referendum on independence from Iraq. The polls are disapproved by the Iran-backed central government in Baghdad, the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and regional powers Turkey.
Iran carried out massive military drills near the borders with Kurdistan in a show of force shortly before the vote. It also revealed intentions to close borders with the autonomous region and has already closed the common airspace. Tehran has repeatedly urged Erbil to cancel the vote, deeming it destabilizing to the region.
Kurdistan gained actual autonomous governance based on the 2005 constitution, but is still considered a part of Iraq. The region was created in 1970 based on an agreement with the Iraqi government, ending years of conflicts.