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Iraq-Iran oil well row

BAGHDAD: Iraq yesterday demanded that Iran immediately withdraw its soldiers from a disputed oilfield on the two countries' border, but Tehran denied any incursion.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali Al Dabbagh said 11 Iranian soldiers had taken control of the Fakka oilfield in a remote desert area of southeastern Iraq, in a "violation of Iraqi sovereignty".

"Iraq demands the immediate withdrawal from well No 4 and the Fakka oilfield, which belongs to Iraq. Iraq is looking for a peaceful and diplomatic settlement to this issue," he said.

Officials have summoned Tehran's envoy in Iraq to discuss the matter, he said. Iraqi officials said the soldiers crossed into Iraqi territory yesterday and raised the Iranian flag at Fakka.

Meanwhile, government supporters rallied across Iran yesterday to protest an opposition "insult" to the nation's revered founder, with some calling for pro-reform leader Mirhossein Mousavi to be executed.

Internet site Twitter was briefly shut down overnight, its home page replaced with an image claiming the site had been hacked by the "Iranian Cyber Army." l Vice-President and nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said the country had started making more efficient models of centrifuges that will be in use in its nuclear programme by early 2011. .



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