Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Iran-Iraq border closures causing economic chaos

Iraq-Iran border chaos over detainee dispute

The sudden closure by Iran of its border with northern Iraq caused trucking chaos at the frontier Tuesday, as experts warned of severe economic fallout and traders scrambled for goods.

"There are a huge number of trucks waiting to cross the border into Kurdistan but the Iranians are not allowing them through," said the mayor of Joman town near the Haj Umran border post in northern Iraq. "The trucks are carrying frozen goods such as chicken, meat, and eggs, which are going to spoil. We spoke to the Iranian officials but they refused to allow the border post to open," Abdel Wahid Koani said.

Tehran said Monday that it was closing its frontier with Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region in protest against the detention last week of an Iranian by US troops.

Angry Kurdish merchants in the northern city of Arbil said that they were being forced to search for other sources of foodstuffs and electronic goods, the main items imported from Iran.

"This closure will raise the prices in our markets and will cause big problems to our business all over the province, especially for those dealing in foodstuffs and household equipment," said merchant Najat Ahmed.