Iran To Reopen Border With Iraq's Kurdistan Region

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The president's Kurdistan Regional Government said it had ordered the local police forces, known as Asayish, to stop the attacks.

An Associated Press team witnessed dozens of protesters attacking the building, parliamentarians and journalists as Barzani addressed the Kurdish region in his first televised speech since the referendum's fallout turned violent earlier this month.

In a statement released by his office, the French president noted that Paris "has always worked for the full recognition of Kurdish rights under the Iraqi constitution", adding that he took note of the decision of Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani to step down later this week.

"Three million votes for Kurdistan independence created history and can not be erased", Mr Barzani said, bitterly accusing his political rivals of "treason" for giving up the contested oil-rich city of Kirkuk to central government troops in the fighting sparked by the 25 September vote. Opposition lawmakers who had been barricaded inside managed to leave later, according to their parties.

The UN meanwhile called on security forces to "prevent any plot against the stability of the Kurdistan Region" and condemned the killing of a Kurdish video journalist by unidentified assailants in Kirkuk province overnight.

He also informed parliament that he will not seek an extension of his term, which is set to expire November 1, but Barzani's senior assistant, Hemin Hawrami said the move did not mean the Kurdish leader was "stepping down".

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The referendum, which garnered a 92.7% vote in favor of separation, was meant to advance the prospects of Kurdistan, the long-held dream of an independent Kurdish state on territories covering segments of northern Iraq.

Major General Mohammad Baqeri, in remarks quoted by ISNA news agency on Monday, also said if Kurdistan implemented its plan to break away from Iraq, "there would be bloodshed in Iraq and neighbouring countries would be affected".

Iran has its own sizable Kurdish minority and has opposed independence for Iraqi Kurds.

The KDP is based mostly around Erbil, while the Puk draws its support mostly from the area of Suleimaniyah, the other main city in the region.

It was a gamble on which 71-year-old Massoud Barzani, the veteran Kurdish leader and one-time guerrilla fighter, had staked his political career.

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