Rex Tillerson: The US 'Does Not Recognize' Kurdish Independence Referendum Results

On Wednesday, Kurdish officials said 2.8 million people living in the three provinces that form the Kurdistan Region, as well as "areas of Kurdistan outside the region's administration", had voted in favour of independence.

"A joint military exercise between Iran's armed forces and units from the Iraqi army will be held in the coming days along the shared border", he said.

Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted in favor of independence in a referendum on Monday, which Mr. Ali said obliges Mr. Barzani to negotiate independence from the rest of Iraq.

Hours before the suspension came into force, the Erbil airport was crowded with passengers waiting to leave the northern region, which borders Turkey, Iran and Syria - countries with substantial Kurdish minorities of their own.

A day after Baghdad cut global air links with the region, Iran's state broadcaster said all transport companies and drivers have been ordered to stop carrying fuel products between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan "until further notice".

Iranian transport companies and drivers are ordered to stop carrying fuel products between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan "until further notice" or face "consequences", the state broadcaster's website reported. The United Nations Security Council had warned Kurdish authorities against holding the plebiscite.

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The illegitimate referendum in northern Iraq had faced sharp opposition from most regional and global actors, many of whom had warned that the poll would further destabilize the Middle East. But after the Kurdish referendum vote, Iraq has threatened to send troops to retake the Kirkuk oil fields and disputed areas.

The referendum has stirred fears of a new regional conflict. He urged both sides to reject the use of force and engage in dialogue, and to remain focused on the fight against the Islamic State, which he said was "not over".

"We were told that from now on border crossings, airports, energy, oil pipelines and the like are under the control of the central government".

The referendum has been deemed illegal by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in addition to Turkey and Iran who have also opposed the move.

On Friday, Iraq also imposed a ban on global flights into its Kurdish region, ordering foreign airlines to suspend travel to the airports in the cities of Erbil and Sulaimaniya.

  • Megan Austin