Shahristani Accuses Kurdistan of Oil Smuggling

The ongoing dispute between Iraq's central government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) reached new heights on Monday as Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister for Energy, Hussain al-Shahristani (pictured), accused the northern region of smuggling rather than meeting its export obligations.

According to Reuters, Shahristani told reporters:

"Most of the crude produced in the region is being smuggled through borders and mainly to Iran ... We have discussed with Iran and Turkey about controlling joint borders to stop smuggling crude."

The KRG decided on Sunday to halt oil exports from the region, which had previously been running at around 100,000 bpd, accusing the central government in Baghdad of failing to make payments to companies working in Kurdistan.

"Oil exports will not start again unless there is an agreement on the payment policy," Kurdish Energy Minister Ashti Hawrami told Reuters on Monday.

(Sources: Reuters, Wall Street Journal)

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