Iraq oil fight worsens with budget threat

Baghdad officials call for a cut to the KRG budget after oil shut-in and allegations of smuggling to Iran.
Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussain al-Shahristani (L) speaks during a joint news conference with Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul-Kareem Luaibi in Baghdad, April 2, 2012. (SAAD SHALASH/Reuters)

BAGHDAD - Baghdad's top energy officials unleashed a litany of allegations and threatened to punish the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region for cutting off its exports, as Iraq's long-standing oil disputes continued to escalate.

Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani claimed that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) had deprived Iraq of $5.65 billion worth of oil revenue by shutting in promised exports and allegedly smuggling through Iran. Shahristani said the Cabinet would move to recover missing funds by deducting them from the region's budget allocation.

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