'No U.S. ban' on Iraqi oil, spokeswoman says

Parties called on to make their own decisions.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Aug. 1, 2014 at 10:37 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- There is no ban in the United States on the sale or transfer of oil from any part of Iraq, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department said.

The crude oil tanker United Kalavryta, carrying 1 million barrels of crude from the Kurdish north of Iraq, is at anchor off the coast of Texas out of U.S. jurisdiction.

The federal Iraqi government filed a case in the U.S. courts against the possible unilateral sale of oil from the semiautonomous Kurdish north of Iraq in the U.S. market. Washington has sided with Baghdad in the assertion that sales of Iraqi oil must go through the federal Iraqi government, arguing Kurdish oil sales are in violation of the Iraqi constitution.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters Thursday the government's policy position was clearly in line with Baghdad's. The issue should be resolved in a manner consistent with the Iraqi constitution, but there's no moratorium on Iraqi oil sales in the United States.

"There is no U.S. ban on the transfer or sale of oil originating from any part of Iraq," she said. "As in many cases involving legal disputes, however, the U.S. recommends the parties make their own decisions with advice of counsel."

The semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government and the federal government have made competing claims over the legality of Kurdish oil sales. Harf said the Kurdish government may face legal consequences, but both sides are called on to find a negotiated resolution to the issue.

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