Iran insists land border with Iraqi-Kurdistan is 'still open'

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Iran had long made its opposition to the referendum known, although how exactly Tehran would respond remained in doubt.

"In particular, United States citizens should avoid travel into and within territories disputed between the Kurdish Regional Government and the Government of Iraq", it reiterated with reference to areas beyond the administrative borders of the Kurdish region that are controlled by the Kurdish forces Peshmerga.

The Turkish military said in a statement that the Iraqi army will join the military drills at the border, which have been ongoing since last week. He said the council had held a special meeting on the referendum and Baghdad's request.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres voiced concern about the "potentially destabilizing effects" of today's referendum in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

"I'm so happy I could take part in this independence vote during my lifetime". Both Reformist and conservative papers took a critical stance on the vote. Instead, regional president Massoud Barzani, is expected to use the result in secession negotiations.

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A Syrian Kurdish girl flashes the victory gesture as she poses for a "selfie" photograph with another girl, while celebrating in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli on September 25, 2017, in support of the independence referendum in Iraq's autonomous northern Kurdish region.

Voting started on Monday in northern Iraq despite intense worldwide and regional pressure to call the vote off. "The Turkmen and the Arabs are basically boycotting this vote".

Citing the Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission, Erbil-based Rudaw TV said 78 percent of the more than five million eligible voters turned out to vote.

The Kurdish referendum was preceded by a flurry of diplomatic contacts and phone calls.

One voter told Reuters, "We have been waiting 100 years for this day". Barzani told reporters on September 24 that he had in the preceding days met with Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force.

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