Iran has sought to defuse border tensions with Iraq following the Iraqi accusation that Iranian forces had mounted a raid to seize one of its oil wells.
Iraqi border officials have been quoted as saying Iranian forces have occupied well number 4 in the East Maysan oil field, 450 km south of Baghdad. Iranian forces have allegedly positioned tanks around the border well and have dug up trenches.
Iraqi accusations led to a 2.8 per cent increase in intraday trading.
Crude oil for January delivery ended up a $73.36 a barrel, an increase by 71 cents. Iran is a leading exporter of oil, and benefits from high oil prices.
The friction between Iran and Iraq precedes a meeting on December 22, in Luanda, Angola -- where Tehran and Baghdad would be present -- of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Iraqi authorities had opened in June international bidding for the development of the Maysan oil fields. However, the offer had not evoked a suitable response.
Head of Iran’s parliamentary commission on national security and foreign policy Alaeddin Boroujerdi told IRNA that diplomatic officials were addressing the issue.
He said the Tehran-Baghdad relations were friendly. He added that the allegation was part of a serial propaganda campaign led by foreigners to damage close ties between the two Islamic states.
Tehran and Baghdad have for decades disputed their border alignment in Iraq’s south-east region.