Iran Bans Oil Products Shipment to Iraqi Kurdistan, Will Hold Joint Military Drills with Iraq

Iran’s Ministry of Roads and Urban Development has warned companies against shipment of oil products to and from the Iraqi Kurdistan “until further notice,” Iranian news agencies reported on Saturday.

“Given the recent developments in the region, it is suitable that international transportation companies and drivers active in this field avoid loading and carrying oil products to and from the Iraqi Kurdistan Region until further notice,” a directive by the ministry’s Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization said as quoted by Press TV.

The transportation is mostly carried out by tanker trucks which take crude oil from the Iraqi Kurdistan to Iran and carry back refined products to the region. The Iraqi Kurdistan is one of Iran’s major trade partners, with annual transactions running to $4 billion a year.

The decision is in line with Tehran’s series of measures in response to a referendum held in the semi-autonomous region on possible secession from Iraq which has drawn international criticism.

On Friday, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said it was taking over the control of its borders in the northern Kurdistan region in coordination with Iran and Turkey. Meanwhile, a senior Iranian military commander says Iran and Iraq will hold joint military exercises along their border with the Kurdistan region in the coming days in line with Tehran’s policy to support Baghdad’s central government, after the recent independence referendum in the semi-autonomous region, Middle East Monitor reports.

Jazzayiri said that the exercise is a show of force by both militaries on the entire borders areas between the Kurdistan Region and Iran.

“The joint maneuver, Eqtedar (Strength), will be held by Iran’s Armed Forces and units of the Iraqi army along the two countries’ joint borders,” Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said on Saturday.

The third phase of Heydar Karrar military drills kicked off Monday  in the presence of quick reaction force, artillery and drones in the western borders of the country. This phase of the military exercise is being staged in Parviz-Khan border which is considered as one of the most important borders between Iran and Iraq. This military drill aims to demonstrate the Iranian army’s authority, mobility and offensive power.

This comes as Iraq stated on Friday that they will hold military operation on Kurdistan’s borders in coordination with neighbouring countries, Iran, and Turkey “when the time is due.”

Iraqi and Turkish armies have already conducted joint military drills near Khabur border crossing between the Kurdistan Region and Turkey. On Wednesday, Iraq’s top military chief traveled to Iran to meet with his Iranian counterpart to discuss enhancing military cooperation.

The reality on the ground is that neither the Iraqi, nor the Iranian or Turkish army is capable of harming the security and stability of the Kurdistan Region and its people, says Kurdish media network Rudaw. Therefore all the shouting is pointless and will not change the fact that the will of a people will not be broken by storms of evil, intimidation and threats.