Large numbers of people have taken part in a landmark vote on independence for Iraq’s Kurdistan region, amid growing opposition both at home and abroad.
Votes are still being counted, with a big victory for “yes” expected.
Kurds say it will give them a mandate to negotiate secession, but Iraq’s PM denounced it as “unconstitutional”.
Neighbours Turkey and Iran, fearing separatist unrest in their own Kurdish minorities, threatened to close borders and impose sanctions on oil exports.
The US state department said it was “deeply disappointed” that the vote went ahead.
“We believe this step will increase instability and hardships for the Kurdistan region and its people,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.