UPDATE 1-Iran shuts border with northern Iraq - Iranian news agency

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ANKARA, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Iran has closed its border gates with northern Iraq in response to an independence referendum in Iraq's Kurdish region last month, Iran's Tasnim news agency reported on Sunday.

"Considering the developments in Iraq's Kurdistan, Iran has closed its Bashmagh border gate with Iraq's Kurdistan," Tasnim said without giving an official source.

Iran last month halted flights to and from Kurdish regions in northern Iraq after the independence referendum by the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Tehran also carried out wargames at the Kurdish border in September.

Tehran fears the spread of separatism to its own Kurdish population, which is around eight million. Iran backs Shiite groups who have been ruling or holding key security and government positions in Iraq since the 2003 U.S-led invasion which toppled Saddam Hussein. (Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Janet Lawrence)