Iraqi government officials announced the closure of the Shalamcheh border crossing, on the Iraqi-Iranian border, on Saturday, November 16, due to recent unrest in both countries. According to local security officials, the decision to shutter the crossing was made at the behest of Iranian authorities. More than 300 people have been killed in Iraq since anti-government protests erupted on Tuesday, October 1. In Iran, demonstrations were held in over a dozen cities on Saturday following the government's decision to slash fuel subsidies. The border will reportedly remain shut indefinitely.
Demonstrations broke out in Iraq on October 1 to protest perceived government corruption, inadequate provision of public services, and a lack of job opportunities. Following weeks of relative calm, demonstrations violently resumed on October 24-25, coinciding with the deadline issued by Grand Ayatollah Sistani to the government to produce a report on who in the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) was responsible for firing at civilians during previous demonstrations. More than 300 people have been killed and 10,000 wounded since protests began. On October 31, President Barham Saleh announced that Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi agreed to resign if the Iraqi parliament's party blocs can agree on a replacement.
Individuals in Iraq are advised to monitor the situation and refrain from nonessential travel to the border regions with Iran.
The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas with proper security protocols in place, other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.
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