Iraq Says Iranian Troops Withdrawn from Oil Well, Still in Iraq
VOA News 20 December 2009
Iraqi officials say Iranian troops have withdrawn from a disputed oil well on their border, but remain on Iraqi territory.
A government spokesman says the Iranians took down their flag and moved back 50 meters from the well, but still have not returned to their original positions.
Iraqi officials say 11 Iranian soldiers seized the well (Number 4) in the al-Fakkah oil field in Maysan province Friday, and that Iranian soldiers remained there Saturday.
Iran insists the well is in Iranian territory.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told Iranian state media that reports of an Iranian incursion were an attempt to harm relations between Tehran and Baghdad. He also said the two sides will seek a diplomatic solution.
A joint Iraq-Iran committee is to look at demarcation of the border in the disputed area.
U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill, praised Iraqis for defending themselves in the dispute, saying they were "not going to be pushed around" by Iran.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.
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