Iraq Sends Troops to Oil Well Seized by Iran

Associated Press/
December 19, 2009

BAGHDAD — Iraq deployed troops Saturday to monitor an oil well seized by Iranian forces along the disputed border between the two countries, an Iraqi official said, as Baghdad demanded once again that Iran withdraw.

The diplomatic standoff began late Thursday, when Iranian forces reportedly crossed into Iraq and seized the well, which sits just over the border in the southern Maysan province. It was a dramatic display of the occasionally tense relations between the wary neighbors.

Iraqi troops and border guards were in the area at a staging ground about a half mile (a kilometer) from oil well No. 4 at the al-Fakkah oil field and were awaiting further orders, said an Interior Ministry official at the site who was not authorized to talk to reporters. It was unclear how many troops were involved. Iraqi forces barred journalists from approaching the area.

The field is located about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad.

The takeover — which included the planting of an Iranian flag on the well — was met by protests from Baghdad and an emergency meeting of Iraq’s national security council that denounced it as a gross violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

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