Country Risk

Iraqi government’s pursuit of Kirkuk-Iran pipeline unlikely to increase leverage over disputed territories, given imminent KRG referendum

08 August 2017


On 30 July, Iran and Iraq signed an agreement to initiate a feasibility study for the construction of a pipeline carrying crude oil from Kirkuk to Iranian refineries in Kermanshah and Tabriz, following a memorandum of understanding reached in February 2017.

Separately, the dispute between the Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over the status of energy resources in areas, especially Kirkuk, where governance is disputed, has revived, following the Islamic State’s territorial losses. Although Kirkuk is outside the KRG boundaries as recognised by the Baghdad government, it has a significant Kurdish population, its provincial government is Kurdish-led, and Kurdish forces have exercised de facto control since Iraqi government forces withdrew as the Islamic State advanced in 2014.

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