Despite objections from Iraq and other nations, Kurds are pressing ahead with their referendum. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT. NO REPORTER NARRATION. Kurdish President Massoud Barzani cast his vote on Monday (September 25) with his son Masroor in the hillside village of Salahuddin on the day of a referendum on independence for Iraqi Kurds. The vote, expected to deliver a comfortable "yes" for independence, is not binding and is meant to give Barzani's Kurdistan Regional Government a mandate to negotiate secession of the oil producing region with Baghdad and the neighbouring states. Barzani went ahead with the referendum despite regional and international fears that it would spark fresh conflicts with Baghdad and with Iraq's powerful neighbours, Iran and Turkey. In response, the Iraqi government asked the autonomous Kurdish region to hand over control of its international border posts, its international airports and called on foreign countries to stop importing Kurdish crude oil, while Iran declared a ban on direct flights to and from Kurdistan. Turkey blocked access into the country from northern Iraq at the Habur border gate in its southeast, but it was still possible to enter Iraq through the crossing, broadcaster NTV said on Monday (September 24).