Wire: Iranians Seize Iraqi Oil Well
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2009 -- Newswire services this morning reported that Iranian troops have crossed into Iraqi territory and seized an oil well that lies in a disputed area along the two countries' southern border, Iraq's deputy foreign Minster said Friday.
The Associated Press reported that the deputy minister, Mohammed Haj Mahmoud, said Iranian troops seized oil well No. 4 Thursday night in the al-Fakkah oil field, located about 200 miles (about 320 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad. The oil field is one of Iraq's largest.
AP also noted that oil prices rose slightly after news of the incident.
"We are coordinating with the Oil Ministry regarding this issue. This is not the first time that the Iranians have tried to prevent Iraqis from investing in oil fields in border areas. Tomorrow, we might summon the Iranian ambassador to discuss this issue," Mahmoud told The Associated Press.AP attempted to downplay the act, saying such incidents have happened before along the Iran-Iraq border, which was never clearly delineated after the war between the two countries in the 1980s.
The al-Fakkah field is considered a shared field between Iran and Iraq, meaning both nations are able to pump oil from it, but the Iraqis consider oil well No. 4 theirs.
In Washington, a U.S. official said that although Iranians have crossed the border before, they had not previously ventured this far.
Iraqi security forces were in the area, but there are no reports of any fighting or that any shots were fired, he said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.
No U.S. troops were in the area. And the Iranians are believed to have left the area, he said.
This is a developing story.
(Report from newswire sources.)