Friday, December 18, 2009

Iraqi official: Iranians seized Iraqi oil well

BAGHDAD (AP) - Iranian troops 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 minister said Friday.

The deputy minister, Mohammed Haj Mahmoud, said Iranian troops seized oil well No. 4 Thursday night in the al-Fakkah oil field, located in Maysan province about 200 miles (about 320 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad. The oil field is one of Iraq's largest.

Oil prices rose slightly after news of the incident.

The incursion by armed Iranians provided a dramatic display of the simmering border tensions between two nations, which have nonetheless grown close in recent years after a Shiite-led government rose to power in Iraq following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Iraq's national security council held an emergency meeting late Friday to discuss the oil well takeover, and the government accused Iran of violating its sovereignty.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the seizure showed anew the need for clearly defined borders between Iraq and Iran.........

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