1975 Algiers Agreement
The 1975 Algiers Agreement (commonly known as the Algiers Accord, sometimes as the Algiers Declaration) was an agreement between Iran and Iraq to settle any border disputes and conflicts (such as the Shatt al-Arab, known as Arvand Rud in Iran), and it served as basis for the bilateral treaties signed on 13 June and 26 December 1975. The agreement was intended to end disagreement between Iraq and Iran on their borders on the Shatt al-Arab waterway and in Khuzestan, but Iraq also wished to end the Kurdish rebellion. Less than six years after signing the treaty, on 17 September 1980, Iraq abrogated the treaty but under international law, one nation cannot unilaterally withdraw from a previously ratified treaty, and the treaty did not include a clause providing for unilateral withdrawal.
|Signed||6 March 1975|
|Negotiators|| Houari Boumédiène|
|Signatories|| Saddam Hussein|
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
|Languages||Arabic and Persian|
Friction continues on the border despite the treaty being binding under international law and its detailed boundary delimitation remaining in force since it was signed in 1975 and ratified in 1976 by both nations.
In 1963, after the Ramadan Revolution, the Ba'ath Party government led by Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr, launched a campaign against the Kurdish rebellion, that had been seeking independence from Iraq. The Ba'ath led government collapsed after the November 1963 coup led by Abdul Salam Arif. Relations between the new government and the Kurds had not been agreed. In 1968, another revolution occurred with the Ba'ath Party and the Iraqi government, called the 17 July Revolution. Tensions between the new government and the Kurds increased, with the Iraqi Armed Forces engaging in military action against Kurdish separatists. The actions of Kurdish rebels caused massive economic disruption. On 11 March 1970, a treaty was signed between the Vice-Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council (Iraq), Saddam Hussein, called the "March Manifesto" and the leader of the Kurdish rebellion, Mustafa al-Barzani, in Tikrit, to end the conflict. Under the agreement, militias were to be merged into the Iraqi Army, cut all ties with Iran and the rebellion would come to an end. In return, the Iraqi government promised the Kurds autonomy, with Kurdish representatives to be included in the Iraqi government. The government had previously encouraged the "Arabization" of the oil-rich Kurdish regions. By 1974, there remained unresolved problems between the government and the Kurds about the oil resources of the Kurdish regions of Iraq. Kurdish ministers resigned from the government, Kurdish employees withdrew, and Kurdish police and soldiers no longer cooperated with the government. The Iraqi government insisted that the Kurds were bound by the agreement, but the Kurds believed that it was the government who had breeched the accord. On 11 March 1974, the agreement was incorporated into the Iraqi constitution. Fighting again broke out between the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces, with Iran supporting the Kurds.
Iran–Iraq border disputeEdit
With the Ba'ath Party in control of the government, in 1968, Iraq demanded full control over the Shatt al-Arab. On 19 April 1969, Iran withdrew from the 1937 agreement, which had been signed between Iraq and Iran to resolve border problems, arguing that Iraq interfered with Iranian boats in the Shatt al-Arab. In April 1969, both armies were deployed on the banks of the Persian Gulf. After Iran took control of four islands in the Persian Gulf, diplomatic relations between Baghdad and Tehran deteriorated markedly. Iraq encouraged the Arabs of Khuzestanin an uprising against the Shah of Iran Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Iraq also expelled all the Iranians from Iraq. Iran supported the Kurds in the Iraqi–Kurdish War with military equipment and funding. Mustafa al-Barzani met with representatives from the American government to support the Kurds secretly, further weakening the Iraqi position which was further complicated by the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War. Iraq now needed to appease Iran, fearing that Iran might attack them from the east, while most of the Iraqi Armed Forces were fighting on the Syrian Front.
In 1973, Iraq negotiations began with Iran, hoping that it would end Iranian support for the Kurdish rebellion. In late April, a meeting was held in Geneva between the countries' foreign ministers. Iraqi representatives demanded that the 1937 treaty be adhered to, which gives most of the Shatt al-Arab to Iraq, but Iranian representatives refused. Discussions failed, but meetings continued to be held between the two countries. Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was completely inflexible, and sought control over half of the Shatt al-Arab. After the Shatt al-Arab discussions were completed, Iraq also sought the end to Iranian support of the Kurds.
In May 1974, Iraq and Iran started the process of marking the Shatt al-Arab boundary between them. In the 1974 Arab League summit, representatives from Iran's government attended to talk with Iraqi representatives with the mediation of King of Jordan Hussein. Talks continued between the two countries sporadically, Iraq was reluctant to abandon territory which had been assigned to it in the 1937 treaty. Iran increased its support of the Kurds, which substantially increased problems for the Iraqi Army. Saddam Hussein and Mohammed Reza Pahlavi attended the OPEC summit on 6 March 1975 in Algiers, where an agreement was made and signed with the mediation of Houari Boumédiène, the then Chairman of the Revolutionary Council of Algeria.
Iraq reluctantly conceded the territory to Iran because of the need end the Kurdish War and to end the violence near the Shatt al-Arab with Iran. The border between the two nations was adjusted in Iran's favor.
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The Algiers Agreement placed the border between Iraq and Iran in the center of the main channel of the Shatt al-Arab waterway, usually called the thalweg. Iraq was required to abandon its claim to Arab areas in Western Iran. The two countries were required to commit themselves to maintain close and effective supervision over their common boundary and to end any intervention in the other's territory. Iran was therefore required to end any support for the Kurds. Both countries agreed to being good neighbors. A violation of one part of the agreement "contradicts the spirit of Algiers Agreement."
On 15 March 1975, the Iraqi and Iranian foreign ministers met with the Algerian representatives to establish a joint committee to mark the new border. On 17 March, the protocol between the two countries was signed by the two foreign ministers. The protocol states that the two countries undertake to re-mark the border.
On 13 June 1975, another treaty was signed in Baghdad by Iraq's and Iran's foreign ministers. It added detail to agreements about conflict resolution and the determination of the border and any changes. The treaty is called the " Iran-Iraq: Treaty on International Borders and Good Neighborly Relations".
Iraq and Iran formed a joint commission to mark the boundary between the two countries. The commission ended marking the border on 26 December 1975 with the signing of a joint declaration of intents. Iran withdrew its military forces from border areas. The borders were closed, and support for the Kurds ended. Iran also requested the CIA and the Mossad to end military support of the Kurdish rebels. It was thought that with the end of international support, the Iraqi government would negotiate with the Kurds, but the Vice-Chairman of Revolutionary Command Council, Saddam Hussein, launched a major campaign against the rebels. Mohammed Reza Pahlavi intervened and a ceasefire was agreed, but on 1 April, the government relaunched the campaign. After a number of battles, the Iraqi Armed Forces declared victory, but more than 100,000 Kurdish refugees fled to Iran and Turkey including the leader, Mustafa al-Barzani, only to return with another rebellion occurring in 1978.
Iraq withdrew from the Algiers Agreement on 17 September 1980. The agreement had been imposed on the country and the chaos in Iran after the Iranian Revolution led to the belief in Iraq that the changes could be undone. This resulted in the longest war in the region in the 20th century, the Iran–Iraq War. The war continued for 8 years. The war was ended in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 619 and returned both parties to the Algiers Agreement of 1975.
- Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988)
- UN Treaty Series Vol. 1017, 1985, full text of the treaty and delimitation description Archived September 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- Harris, George S. (1 January 1977). "Ethnic Conflict and the Kurds". The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 433 (1): 112–124. doi:10.1177/000271627743300111.
- Krash, Ephriam; Rautsi, Inari (1991). Saddam Hussein: A Political Biography. pp. 67–75.
- The introduction in Genocide in Iraq: The Anfal Campaign Against the Kurds (Human Rights Watch Report, 1993).
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- Abdulghani, J. M. (1984). Iraq and Iran: The Years of Crisis. London. p. 142.
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- Bengio, Ofra (2012). The Kurds of Iraq: Building A State Within A State.
- Pipes, Daniel. "A Border Adrift: Origins of the Iraq-Iran War". New Weapons. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- Report of United States embassy in Baghdad to the State Department, 16 May 1973
- Report of United States embassy in Tehran to the State Department, 9 June 1973
- Kutchera, Chris (1979). Le Mouvement national Kurde. Paris. pp. 322–323.
- Cashman, G., & Robinson, L. C. (2007). An introduction to the causes of war: Patterns of interstate conflict from World War I to Iraq. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.p272
- "International Boundary Study". Office of Geographer Bureau of Intelligence and Research (164). 13 July 1978.
- F. Gregory Gause, III (2009-11-19). The International Relations of the Persian Gulf. Cambridge University Press. pp. 36–37. ISBN 9781107469167. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
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- Media related to 1975 Algiers Agreement at Wikimedia Commons
- Works related to Algiers Agreement (1975) at Wikisource