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Tehran is taking a stance against the Kurdistan Regional Government by temporarily halting oil product shipments into the semi-autonomous region, according to reports emerging from the area.
The Iran Road Maintenance and Transport Organization also banned oil product trades from the KRG to Iran, Tasnim news agency said.
The move comes just days after the Iraqi Kurds voted to secede from Iraq and form their own government, despite opposition from Baghdad and the international community. Next, the KRG is due to set up a committee that will negotiate the terms of the secession with Iraq in a process expected to take years to complete.
"Our relationship with the Kurds, in our view, will not change," said U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert during a press briefing on Thursday. The U.S. had previously opposed having the referendum, preferring, instead, for all Iraqis to be focused on rebuilding a war-torn nation.
Iran’s investment in the Kurdish population of Iraq has been great. According to Foreign Affairs, the nation is the only one with a substantial Kurdish population to maintain good relations with Erbil over several decades.
Prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which ousted the despised Shah in favor of the vastly popular Ayatollah Khomeini, Tehran sent aid to Iraqi Kurds who led an insurgency against the al-Bakr regime in Baghdad.
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The sudden shift in tone of dialogue between Tehran and Erbil is, thus, surprising in light of their history.
Meanwhile Canada’s ShaMaran Petroleum, who is focused primarily on oil operations in the Kurdish North, reported normal production in northern Kurdistan on Friday. The project brings together ShaMaran and the Kurdish government for the sale of oil from the Atrush field under the Brent barrel price.
"I am very glad that we concluded the sales agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government, which allows us to proceed with invoicing for oil exported from the Atrush field," ShaMaran CEO Chris Bruijnzeels said in a statement, according to UPI.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…