What Happened: Iran and Iraq have agreed to return to a peace accord from 1975 regarding their border along the Shatt al-Arab waterway, the Iraqi government announced on Twitter on March 12.
Why It Matters: Previous Iraqi leaders, including former President Jalal Talabani, have frequently reiterated since 1980 that the 1975 agreement to equally share the waterway is null and void, a fact that highlights the controversial nature of President Adel Abdul-Mahdi's announcement. Indeed, some moderate Iraqi politicians have criticized the decision, saying Baghdad has surrendered a significant amount of territory to Iran.
Background: The 1975 Algiers Agreement ended a Kurdish conflict within Iraq and equally divided the Shatt al-Arab river between Iran and Iraq, but Baghdad withdrew from the agreement in 1979. The river has been shifting significantly since 1975, resulting in some Iraqis claiming that their country has lost territory. The new agreement will apply modern mapping techniques to the original deal's framework to harmonize any discrepancies.
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