Iran has closed its border to Kurdish refugees fleeing Iraq through Turkey, a Turkish official said. Iran said Saturday that accepting more Kurdish refugees would be a problem.
Regional Gov. Hayri Kozakcioglu said Friday Iran took in 2,178 Kurdish refugees from Turkey one month ago but then closed its border.Kozakcioglu said 3,000 Kurdish refugees were taken this week in buses and trucks from two tent cities in southeast Turkey to Alan, a village on the Iranian border. But the Iranians refused to accept the refugees, he said, and after a two-day wait at the border they were taken back to the tent cities.
Turkish news agencies say up to 19,000 Kurdish refugees have voluntarily transferred to Iran.
Iran's deputy prime minister, Ali-Reza Moayeri, was quoted Saturday by Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency as saying: "Due to early cold weather in the western border regions, the arrival of fresh groups of Kurds will be difficult and dangerous."
Iran had offered to accept any of the 60,000 Kurdish refugees who poured into Turkey starting in late August, after Iraq began an offensive against the ethnic minority. The Kurds claim Iraq used chemical weapons against them.