Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.26
By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Iran and Iraq will sign an accord in the near future to end conflicting territorial claims over the border river, Shatt al-Arab, IRNA quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying on Feb. 26.
He made the statement in a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari in Tehran.
Conflicting territorial claims and disputes over navigation rights between Iran and Iraq were among the main factors for the Iran-Iraq War that lasted from 1980 to 1988, when the pre-1980 status quo was restored.
The Iranian cities of Abadan and Khorramshahr and the Iraqi city and major port of Basra are situated along this river. Control of the waterway and its use as a border was a source of contention betweenIran and Iraq.
In 1937, Iran and Iraq signed a treaty that settled the dispute over control of the Shatt al-Arab. The 1937 treaty recognized the Iranian-Iraqi border as along the low-water mark on the eastern side of the Shatt al-Arab except at Abadan and Khorramshahr where the frontier ran along the thalweg (the deep water line) which gave Iraq control of almost the entire waterway; provided that all ships using the Shatt al-Arab fly the Iraqi flag and have an Iraqi pilot, and required Iran to pay tolls to Iraq whenever its ships used the Shatt al-Arab.
In April 1969, Iran abrogated the 1937 treaty over the Shatt al-Arab, and as such, Iran ceased paying tolls to Iraq when its ships used the Shatt al-Arab.
The Iranian abrogation of the 1937 treaty marked the beginning of a period of acute Iraqi-Iranian tension that was to last until the Algiers Accords of 1975.
Edited by C.N.