Iran, Iraq oil dispute lingers

Jan. 15, 2010 at 11:40 AM
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BAGHDAD, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Iraq presented a cross-sectarian pledge to find an end to border disputes with Iran stemming from the Iranian seizure of a border oil well, Tehran said.

Iran's state-backed broadcaster Press TV reports Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, joined Shiite leader Ammar al-Hakim in a promise that the dispute over a border well in Maysan province is near and end.

Hakim, leader of the influential Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, was meeting with Kurdish leaders to discuss presenting a united front to compete in March parliamentary elections in Iraq.

Iranian forces in December took control of an oil well at al-Fakkah field, raising the Iranian flag over the disputed site. There are several fields straddling the Iran-Iraq border, which lacks official demarcation from the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

Last week Manouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian foreign minister, met in Baghdad with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari to discuss sovereignty issues related to al-Fakkah.

Iran downplayed the row, though it insisted the well was inside its territory. Press TV accuses "some American and Arab media outlets" of exaggerating the issue.

Iraqi leaders said the well was "100 percent Iraqi property."

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