BAGHDAD (AP) - 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 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.
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.
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.
It appears that Iran and Iraq play a funny little game of tag with the oil fields on the border. This from Associated Press:
The field is about 500 metres (yards) from an Iranian border fort and about 1 kilometre from an Iraqi border fort, US Colonel Peter Newell said, adding that it falls on the Iraqi side of a border agreed between the two countries.
There are five other similar fields that also fall into disputed territory, he said.
"What happens is, periodically, about every three or four months, the oil ministry guys from Iraq will go ... to fix something or do some maintenance. They'll paint it in Iraqi colours and throw an Iraqi flag up.
"They'll hang out there for a while, until they get tired, and as soon as they go away, the Iranians come down the hill and paint it Iranian colours and raise an Iranian flag. It happened about three months ago and it will probably happen again."
Whether this is just another game of tag or have the Iranians turned serious, remains to be seen. On thing for sure is a stronger hand in dealing with Iran is long over due. Now that Obama has failed in Copenhagen, perhaps he will turn his attention to real dangers.
Via: Associated Press