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 their border disputes (such as the Shatt al-Arab –known as Arvand Rud in Iran– and Khuzestan), and served as basis for the bilateral treaties signed on 13 June and 26 December 1975. Less than six years after signing the treaty, Iraq and Iran went to war. Jasim M. Abdulghani in his book Iraq and Iran, states the primary motivating factor behind the war invasion under Saddam Hussein and the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was the attempted overthrow of his government by Iran, including assassination attempts on Tariq Aziz and other key Iraqi leaders in early 1980 and threatened to "break Iraq and to advance to Baghdad". In September 1980, Iraq responded to a series of border skirmishes with Iran by mounting a full-scale ground invasion of the ethnically Arab Khuzestan. The Iran–Iraq War lasted eight years, and finally ended with a United Nations brokered ceasefire in the form of United Nations Security Council Resolution 598, which was accepted by both sides. Friction remains along the border, despite the currently binding treaty and its detailed boundary delimitation remaining in force since signed by both nations in 1975 and ratified by both nations in 1976. Under international law, one nation cannot unilaterally reject a previously ratified treaty, and the treaty had no clause providing for abrogation by one nation only.
The Algiers Agreement
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March 6, 1975
"During the convocation of the OPEC Summit Conference in the Algerian capital and upon the initiative of President Houari Boumedienne, the Shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein (Vice-Chairman of the Revolution Command Council) met twice and conducted lengthy talks on the relations between Iraq and Iran. These talks, attended by President Houari Boumedienne, were characterized by complete frankness and a sincere will from both parties to reach a final and permanent solution of all problems existing between the two countries in accordance with the principles of territorial integrity, border inviolability and non-interference in internal affairs.
The two High Contracting Parties have decided to
- Carry out a final delineation of their land boundaries in accordance with the Constantinople Protocol of 1913 and the Proceedings of the Border Delimitation Commission of 1914.
- Demarcate their river boundaries according to the Thalweg line [meaning the median course of the Shatt al-Arab waterway].
- Accordingly, the two parties shall restore security and mutual confidence along their joint borders. They shall also commit themselves to carry out a strict and effective observation of their joint borders so as to put an end to all infiltrations of a subversive nature wherever they may come from.
- The two parties have also agreed to consider the aforesaid arrangements as inseparable elements of a comprehensive solution. Consequently, any infringement of one of its components shall naturally contradict the spirit of the Algiers Accord. The two parties shall remain in constant contact with President Houari Boumedienne who shall provide, when necessary, Algeria's brotherly assistance whenever needed in order to apply these resolutions.
The two parties have decided to restore the traditional ties of good neighbourliness and friendship, in particular by eliminating all negative factors in their relations and through constant exchange of views on issues of mutual interest and promotion of mutual co-operation.
The two parties officially declare that the region ought to be secure from any foreign interference.
The Foreign Ministers of Iraq and Iran shall meet in the presence of Algeria's Foreign Minister on 15 March 1975 in Tehran in order to make working arrangements for the Iraqi-Iranian joint commission which was set up to apply the resolutions taken by mutual agreement as specified above. And in accordance with the desire of the two parties, Algeria shall be invited to the meetings of the Iraqi-Iranian joint commission. The commission shall determine its agenda and working procedures and hold meetings if necessary. The meetings shall be alternately held in Baghdad and Tehran.
His Majesty the Shah accepted with pleasure the invitation extended to him by His Excellency President Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr to pay a state visit to Iraq. The date of the visit shall be fixed by mutual agreement.
On the other hand, Saddam Hussein agreed to visit Iran officially at a date to be fixed by the two parties.
HM the Shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein expressed their deep gratitude to President Houari Boumedienne, who, motivated by brotherly sentiments and a spirit of disinterestedness, worked for the establishment of a direct contact between the leaders of the two countries and consequently contributed to reviving a new era in the Iraqi-Iranian relations with a view to achieving the higher interests of the future of the region in question." (From Algiers Accord - 1975)
One of the major purposes of this agreement was to stop Iran from supplying Kurds with arms in their struggle against Iraqi leadership. Following the agreement, "Mustafa Barzani and over 100,000 followers crossed the border into Iran; thousands of other Iraqi Kurdish fighters surrendered to government forces."
As with most territorial conflicts, this problem was not solved by the Algiers Agreement. Five years after the treaty was signed, Saddam initiated a bloody war against Iran, which became the longest war of the 20th century. At the end of the inconclusive war, both sides agreed to respect the terms of the 1975 agreement.
- Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988)
- UN Treaty Series Vol. 1017, 1985, full text of the treaty and delimitation description
- 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.