Iran slaps fuel trade embargo on Iraqi Kurdish region

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Iran has embargoed exports and imports of fuel products to and from Iraqi Kurdish region in response to the region’s controversial independence referendum, Iranian media reported on Saturday.

All transport companies and drivers are ordered to stop carrying fuel products between Iran and Kurdish region “until further notice” or face “consequences”, the state broadcaster's website reported citing a transport ministry directive.

Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted for independence in Monday’s non-binding referendum, which has sent regional tensions soaring.

Iran strongly opposes independence for the Iraqi Kurds, fearing it will provoke separatists among its own Kurdish population.

Transport ministry order

The transport ministry order, sent to various organizations and transportation associations, is dated Wednesday, according to a copy published by Tasnim news agency.

“Based on the recent regional developments and the order of the department of border and counter-strike affairs of the Interior Ministry, international transport companies and drivers should avoid loading and carrying fuel products to and/or from the Kurdistan region of Iraq until further notice,” the directive said.

Gas oil is one of Iran’s main exports to the autonomous Kurdistan region, which imported 110 million liters of it from Iran last year, state broadcaster IRIB said quoting figures from the National Oil Company.