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Algiers Agreement (1975)

ALGIERS AGREEMENT (1975)

Agreement between Iran and Iraq to settle border and political disputes.

On 6 March 1975 Iran and Iraq announced in Algeria that they had agreed to recognize the thalweg (middle) of the Shatt al-Arab River as their common border and to resolve other contentious issues. Their riparian border had become a major issue in 1969 when Iran unilaterally abrogated a 1937 treaty that had reaffirmed, with the exception of a thalweg line at the Iranian port of Abadan, an Iran-Ottoman Empire treaty of 1913 establishing the common boundary along the Iranian shore of the Shatt al-Arab. Iran claimed that the 1937 treaty had been signed under British duress and that the principle of thalweg should be applied along the entire course of the river. Iran's action led to a series of border clashes beginning in 1971. Algeria mediated the 1975 agreement, which led to the signing of a bilateral border treaty at Baghdad in June.

Iraq renounced the Algiers Agreement and abrogated the Baghdad Treaty in September 1980 just before launching its invasion of Iran. Iran and Iraq accepted UN Security Council resolution number 598 establishing a cease-fire in 1988, but most of the graduated steps, including those pertaining to their common border, remained unimplemented in the early 2000s. However, even though the Algiers Agreement has not been reinstituted formally, Iran and Iraq have observed a de facto thalweg as their border in the Shatt al-Arab since the fall of 1990.

see also shatt al-arab.

Bibliography


Kaikobad, Kaiyan Homi. The Shatt-al-Arab Boundary Question: A Legal Reappraisal. New York: Oxford University Press; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988.

Mia Bloom

Updated by Eric Hooglund

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