Iran closes border with Kurdistan to protest US seizure of Iranian

The US may be able to ignore Iraq's protests but Iran is able to cause real economic hardship by closing the border and the United States has only itself to blame.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iran has closed its five entry points with Iraq's Kurdish region in protest against the U.S. military's recent incarceration of an Iranian, an Iraqi Kurdish official said Monday.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has called for the release of an Iranian detained by the U.S. military.

One Iraqi official said the move will hurt the economy of the autonomous region, where there is heavy traffic over the Iraq-Iran border.

Jamal Abdullah, the official spokesman of Iraq's Kurdistan regional government, said Iran made good on its threat to close the border because the Iranian, Mahmoody Farhadi, had not been released. One of the entry points is in Irbil, two are in Sulaimaniya and two others are in Khanaqin.

American troops arrested the man Thursday in Sulaimaniya, said the U.S. military, which called him a member of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' Quds Force. The agency has been accused of training and equipping insurgents in Iraq.

The detainee -- one of several Iranians in U.S. custody in Iraq -- "has been involved in transporting improvised explosive devices and explosively formed penetrators into Iraq. Intelligence reports also indicate he was involved in the infiltration and training of foreign terrorists in Iraq."

Iraqi president urges release of Iranian detainee
But Iraqi President Jalal Talabani -- who blasted the United States for the arrest -- said the Iranian official is a civil servant who was on an official trade mission in the Kurdistan region.

The closures would cause "severe damage to markets and trade in the province on this blessed month," Talabani said, referring to Ramadan. He called for the Iranian's release.

The other border points between Iraq and Iran remain open.


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