ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – An Iraqi Member of Parliament on Tuesday revealed that oil in Kirkuk and other disputed areas is being smuggled and sold illegally.
During a press conference, Nadhim al-Sa’idi, Head of the Services and Constructions Committee in the Iraqi Parliament, warned that oil smuggling in Kirkuk and other disputed areas continues. He also urged the government to take action to prevent the crime.
“Smuggling oil from Kirkuk oil fields and other regions in the disputed areas continues with over 600 trucks of oil smuggled on a daily basis,” the Iraqi MP stated. “Each barrel of oil is sold for 10 USD.”
Sa’idi urged Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to take all the necessary legal and military measures to stop the smuggling.
“Iraqi forces are present in the areas where the oil is being smuggled and can stop it,” he added.
Sa’idi did not name those responsible for smuggling the oil, but claimed the money was sent to terrorist organizations.
On Oct. 16, the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi attacked Peshmerga forces in Kirkuk and other disputed territories, taking control of the oil fields previously managed by the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Natural Resources.
Following the attack and takeover of the oil fields, currently protected by Shia militia groups supported by Iran, the Iraqi Oil Ministry has begun discussions with Iranian officials regarding oil exports from Kirkuk and other disputed areas.
According to recent reports, Deputy Commander of the Hashd al-Shaabi Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a US-designated terrorist, met with the Iraqi Oil Minister to discuss different ways of protecting Kirkuk’s oil fields.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany