The conflict between Iraq and Iran intensified at the weekend (20-21 September) with ground, sea and air battles along the 720-mile (1,200-kilometre) border.
GV PAN ALONG Street TO EXTERIOR polling station in Arbil, town in north-eastern Iraq.
SV People entering polling station.
MV Electrical banners outside polling station in Arabic and English. (2 SHOTS)
SV Electorial Officer checking papers.
CU & MV Woman and men waiting to vote. (2 SHOTS)
MV Youths in polling booth.
CU & MV Ballot papers being placed into box, Salah Aldin. (3 SHOTS)
CU PULL OUT TO MV Officials at another polling station checking papers.
CU Voters placing papers into ballot box.
MV Banner across doorway of polling station in Kzenzan village, reading "Our faith in the Autonomy law is unbreakable" PAN DOWN TO people entering.
MCU People casting votes. (7 SHOTS)
GV PAN EXTERIOR Polling station with people waiting with people waiting and standing chatting.
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Background: The conflict between Iraq and Iran intensified at the weekend (20-21 September) with ground, sea and air battles along the 720-mile (1,200-kilometre) border. The clashes were the fiercest since the
two Middle East neighbours settled their differences five years ago. Their 1975 Algiers treaty settled nearly a decade of hostility and its terms remained in force as long as the late Shah of Iran, the co-signatory, was in power.Their relations worsened after the Islamic revolutionaries took power in Teheran in 1979. Iran accused Iraq of repressing its own Shi'ite population and of helping Iranian Arab and Kurdish rebels to fight the revolutionary regime. The Baghdad government's worries were made worse by the success of the Kurds in Iran in forcing concessions from the Teheran administration.
SYNOPSIS: In northern Iraq, the Kurds have been granted a form a autonomy and voting has been taking place to establish a Kurdish regional government. They have set up a regional capital in the town of Arbil, near the border with Iran. Thousands of Iraqi Kurds have been going to the polls in this inhospitable mountain region which lies in a triangle between Iraq, Iran and Turkey. A map will not show a country of Kurdistan. But the Kurds remain convinced it's only a temporary problem and that soon the maps of the world will be showing their homeland as a separate autonomous state.
In the village of Salah Aldin, the same voting scenes were taking place. The struggle for independence by the Kurdsar interwoven in the deep-seated animosity between Iraq and Iran. Each outbreak of fighting brings a new wave of refugees surging backwards or forwards across the common border, with both countries accusing each other of stirring up Kurdish nationalism.
Although they have been granted a certain degree of autonomy, the militants among the Kurds remain dissatisfied and carry on their armed attempts to force bigger concessions. The Kurdish population in Iraq was largely increased in May when Iranian forces overran the Kurdish provincial capital of Sanadaj. The battle for Sanadaj was part of a struggle which has lasted 34 years since the Kurds proclaimed their Republic of Mahabad. It's a confrontation which has involved past and present regimes in Iran, in Turkey and in Iraq.