The controversy began on Friday when armed Iranians moved on to the al-Fakka oilfield, in Missan province, south Iraq, and erected their flag on oil well No 4, which has been disputed by the two countries since the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988.
Last night the Iranian troops were “still inside Iraqi territory” said a Government spokesman. An anonymous source working at al-Fakka said that around 100 Iranian troops and two tanks were still present.
Tribal leader Abdelkareem Muhammadawi, from Missan, claimed that armed Iranians had also moved onto wells 11 and 13 on the oilfield. This was denied by the Government and by a source at the Iranian Embassy, who said that “no Iranian forces have entered Iraqi territories.”
Many Iraqis, among whom suspicion has been growing of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s strong relationship with Tehran, have reacted angrily at the lack of firm response from his Government.
A tribal council in the south of the country announced that they had formed a combat brigade to stand against the Iranian forces on the oil field.'