Iraq demands Kurdish-based cell operators move to Baghdad

BAGHDAD — Iraq's government is demanding Kurdish-based that cellular network operators relocate their headquarters to Baghdad.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi's cabinet included the demand in a package of measures aimed to pressure the Kurdish regional government to renounce its September referendum on support for independence. The region voted overwhelmingly in favor.

Two of Iraq's three main cellular operators are headquartered in the Kurdish region, namely Asiacell and Korek Telecom.

The cabinet also asked Turkey and Iran to close their crossings with the Kurdish region and liaise exclusively with Baghdad. The Kurdish region is responsible for up to a quarter of Iraq's oil production, with a portion of it exported directly to Turkey.

The Kurdish regional government has not declared independence.

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