Kolbars, semi-legal porters, traverse the mountainous frontier between Kurdistan Region and Iraq. File photo: Rudaw
SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – Iraq and Iran signed a border security agreement in Sulaimani on Wednesday.
The agreement will “enhance border cooperation in all fields as both sides share a long border from the north to south,” Maj. Gen. Sherko Abdulla, commander of the Iraqi Border Area 1, told Rudaw.
Specifically, they discussed monitoring the borders, and preventing smuggling and illegal travel between the two countries, he explained.
"According to the agreement we have signed, we have to meet every six months with the Iranian border provinces’ authorities to review our plans,” Abdulla added.
The stretch of border between the Kurdistan Region and Iran is famously porous. Kurds living on both sides regularly travel across the mountainous frontier. Kolbars, semi-legal porters, carry legal and illegal goods across the border on foot or horseback.
Kurdish Iranian opposition parties also traverse the area, shuttling between their bases in the Kurdistan Region and Iranian provinces.
It is "difficult to monitor the illegal movements, especially in the rugged mountains as there is no access to reach them and there are no watch posts to monitor,” Abdulla conceded.
Asked whether they included in their agreement steps to prevent movements of the Iranian Kurdish parties, he said, "What we signed was not a political agreement, but a technical one."
Iran and Iraq share a 1,450-kilometre long border.