Iran confirmed Saturday that its forces had taken over East Maysan oil field, located on the Iran-Iraq border. The move caused a 2.4% spike in oil prices.
"The Iranian forces are on Iranian soil, as defined by known international borders. This oil field is Iran's" said an Iranian armed forces statement quoted by the Islamic Republic Arab-language television station, al-Alam.
Proprietary of the East Maysan oil field had been the center of a dispute between Tehran and Bagdad for a lengthy period of time.
The East Maysan oil field (Photo: Reuters)
Iraq's Deputy Interior Minister Ahmed Ali al-Khafaji said the move was the latest in a series of Iranian incursions over the past few days, which focused on the Fauqa oil field, some 186 miles south of Bagdad.
The invasion followed an agreement between the Iraqi Oil Ministry and several of the world's leading oil energy companies, to operate seven oil fields.
Iraq slammed the incursion as a violation of its sovereignty and demanded Iran withdraws its troops immediately. This is the first major incident between Iran and Iraq since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff stressed Saturday that the matter must be resolved independently between the two parties.
Meanwhile, Iran accused "foreign elements" of trying to instigate a dispute between the two countries. National Security Committee chairman Ala Al-Din Boroujerdi vehemently denied "claims that Iran has taken over an Iraqi oil filed."
The matter, he told Iranian news agency IRNA "was being examined through diplomatic channels," adding that "the foreign press is to blame for this propaganda."
Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad Al Boulani said that "Iraq will not give up its oil deposits, no matter the circumstances."