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  • Iranian troops no longer control oil well: Iraq

    Make partial withdrawal from disputed well, lower Iran flag

    Iranian troops have withdrawn partially from a disputed oil well claimed by both Tehran and Baghdad, the Iraqi government spokesman said on Sunday.

    Ali al-Dabbagh said a small group of Iranian troops who had taken over an oil well in a remote region along the two countries' border last week were no longer in control of the well, which Iraq considers part of its Fakka oilfield.

    "The Iranian flag has been lowered. The Iranian troops have pulled back 50 meters, but they have not gone back to where they were before. The Iraqi government asked for the troops to go back to where they were," Dabbagh said.

    On Friday, global oil prices climbed after Iraq's state-owned South Oil Co. in the southeastern city of Amara said that an Iranian force had arrived at the field and taken control of the Well 4.

    Baghdad demanded that "Tehran pull back the armed men who occupied Well No 4" and condemned the incident as "a violation of Iraqi sovereignty."

    Iran rejected allegations it had occupied an Iraqi oil well.

    The border flare-up kicked off a storm of emergency meetings and bilateral phone calls, with Baghdad calling for an immediate withdrawal yet also seeking to contain damage to its important relationship with neighboring Iran.

    In a phone conversation on Saturday evening, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and his Iraqi counterpart Hoshiyar Zebari underlined the need for a meeting of officials "with the intention of enforcing bilateral border agreements", Iranian state broadcaster IRIB reported.

    The two countries have a long history of border feuds, including one that escalated into a bloody eight-year war in the 1980s. The relationship warmed after 2003, when fellow Shiite Muslims took over in Baghdad and the countries' trade and religious tourism ties began to deepen.

    Dabbagh said a joint committee would begin to look at demarcating the border in the desert region.

    Fakka is a relatively small field, and currently produces about 10,000 barrels per day, Iraqi officials say.

    The Iranian flag has been lowered. The Iranian troops have pulled back 50 meters, but they have not gone back to where they were before. The Iraqi government asked for the troops to go back to where they were

    Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh