1975 Algiers Agreement

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Algiers Agreement
Iran-Iraq Shatt al-Arab Boundries.jpg
Borders of Shatt al-Arab between Iraq and Iran
Signed6 March 1975
Location Algiers, Algeria
Negotiators Flag of Algeria.svg Houari Boumédiène
Flag of Algeria.svg Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Signatories Flag of Iraq (1963-1991); Flag of Syria (1963-1972).svg Saddam Hussein
State Flag of Iran (1964).svg Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Languages Arabic and Persian

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 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 meant to end the disputes between Iraq and Iran on their borders in Shatt al-Arab and Khuzestan, but the main reason for Iraq was to end the Kurdish rebellion. Less than six years after signing the treaty, on 17 September 1980, Iraq abolished the treaty but 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.

Treaty express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law

A treaty is an agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an (international) agreement, protocol, covenant, convention, pact, or exchange of letters, among other terms. Regardless of terminology, all of these forms of agreements are, under international law, equally considered treaties and the rules are the same.

Baathist Iraq covers the history of the Republic of Iraq from 1968 to 2003

Ba'athist Iraq, formally the Iraqi Republic, covers the history of Iraq between 1968 and 2003, during the period of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party's rule. This period began with high economic growth and soaring prosperity, but ended with Iraq facing social, political, and economic stagnation. The average annual income decreased because of several external factors, and several internal policies of the government.

Shatt al-Arab river in Southwest Asia

Shatt al-Arab or Arvand Rud is a river of some 200 km (120 mi) in length, formed by the confluence of the Euphrates and the Tigris in the town of al-Qurnah in the Basra Governorate of southern Iraq. The southern end of the river constitutes the border between Iraq and Iran down to the mouth of the river as it discharges into the Persian Gulf. It varies in width from about 232 metres (761 ft) at Basra to 800 metres (2,600 ft) at its mouth. It is thought that the waterway formed relatively recently in geologic time, with the Tigris and Euphrates originally emptying into the Persian Gulf via a channel further to the west.


Friction remains along the border despite the currently binding treaty and its detailed boundary delimitation [1] remaining in force since it was signed in 1975 and ratified in 1976 by both nations.

Boundary delimitation is the drawing of boundaries, particularly of electoral precincts, states, counties or other municipalities. In the context of elections, it can be called redistribution and is used to prevent unbalance of population across districts. In the United States, it is called redistricting. Unbalanced or discriminatory delimitation is called "gerrymandering." Though there are no internationally agreed processes that guarantee fair delimitation, several organizations, such as the Commonwealth Secretariat, the European Union and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems have proposed guidelines for effective delimitation.


Kurdish conflict

In 1963, after the Ramadan Revolution, the Ba'ath Party led government being headed by Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr, launched a campaign against the Kurdish rebellion, that was looking for independence from Iraq. The Ba'ath led government fell after the November 1963 coup led by Abdul Salam Arif. The relations between the government and Kurds didn't reach any final decisions. In 1968, the Ba'ath Party started another revolution, the 17 July Revolution. The relations between the Iraqis and Kurds became tense, with the Iraqi Armed Forces suppressing the Kurdish movement. The Kurdish rebels caused massive economical damage to the Iraqi government. 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. [2] The treaty states that the Kurdish militias get merged with the Iraqi Army, cut the ties between Iran and the Kurds and put an end to the rebellion. In return, the Iraqi government promised the Kurds autonomy, with Kurdish persons included in the Iraqi government. [3] The government encouraged the "Arabization" of the oil-rich Kurdish regions. [4] In 1974, there were lots of problems between the government and the Kurds about the oil of Iraq. The Kurdish ministers left the government, the Kurdish employees left their jobs and Kurdish police and soldiers left the army. The Iraqi government demanded the Kurds to implement the treaty, but they refused. On 11 March 1974, the manifesto became a law in the Iraqi constitution. [5] After that, the fight between the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces continued, with Iran supporting the Kurds. [6]

Ramadan Revolution

The Ramadan Revolution, also referred to as the 8 February Revolution and the February 1963 coup d'état in Iraq, was a military coup by the Ba'ath Party's Iraqi-wing which overthrew the Prime Minister of Iraq, Abd al-Karim Qasim in 1963. It took place between 8 and 10 February 1963. Qasim's former deputy, Abdul Salam Arif, who was not a Ba'athist, was given the largely ceremonial title of President, while prominent Ba'athist general Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr was named Prime Minister. The most powerful leader of the new government was the secretary general of the Iraqi Ba'ath Party, Ali Salih al-Sa'di, who controlled the National Guard militia and organized a massacre of hundreds—if not thousands—of suspected communists and other dissidents following the coup.

Arab Socialist Baath Party – Iraq Region Baathist regional organisation

The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Iraq Region, officially the Iraqi Regional Branch, is an Iraqi Ba'athist political party founded in 1951 by Fuad al-Rikabi. It was the Iraqi regional branch of the original Ba'ath Party before changing its allegiance to the Iraqi-dominated Ba'ath movement following the 1966 split within the original party. The party was officially banned following the American invasion of Iraq, but despite this it still continues to function.

November 1963 Iraqi coup détat coup détat

The November 1963 Iraqi coup d'état took place between November 13 and November 18, 1963 when, following internal party divisions, pro-Nasserist Iraqi officers led a military coup within the Ba'ath Party. Although the coup itself was bloodless, 250 people were killed in related actions.

Iran–Iraq border dispute

After the Ba'ath Party rose to power, in 1968, the Iraqi government demanded full control over Shatt al-Arab. [7] On 19 April 1969, Iran abolished the 1937 agreement, which was signed between Iraq and Iran to sort the border problems, with a weak excuse, that Iraq provoked Iranian boats sailing in Shatt al-Arab. [8] 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, Baghdad had lots of diplomatic problems with Tehran. [7] Iraq called the Arabs of Khuzestan to start an uprising against the Shah of Iran Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Iraq also kicked all the Iranians out of Iraq. [8] Iran supported the Kurds in the Iraqi–Kurdish War with military equipment and funded them with money. Mustafa al-Barzani met with representatives from the American government to support the Kurds secretly, so, the Iraqi position wasn't good, especially after the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War. Iraq wanted to build a new diplomatic structure with Iran, fearing that Iran will attack them from the east, while most of the Iraqi Armed Forces are fighting on the Syrian Front. [9]

Kingdom of Iraq 1921-1958 monarchy in the Middle East

The Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq was founded on 23 August 1921 under British administration following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Mesopotamian campaign of World War I. Although a League of Nations mandate was awarded to the UK in 1920, the 1920 Iraqi revolt resulted in the scrapping of the original mandate plan in favour of a British administered semi-independent kingdom, under the Hashemite allies of Britain, via the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty. The Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq was granted full independence in 1932, following the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty (1930). The independent Iraqi Kingdom under the Hashemite rulers underwent a period of turbulence through its entire existence. Establishment of Sunni religious domination in Iraq was followed by Assyrian, Yazidi and Shi'a unrests, which were all brutally suppressed. In 1936, the first military coup took place in the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq, as Bakr Sidqi succeeded in replacing the acting Prime Minister with his associate. Multiple coups followed in a period of political instability, peaking in 1941.

Persian Gulf An arm of the Indian Ocean in western Asia

The Persian Gulf, is a mediterranean sea in Western Asia. The body of water is an extension of the Indian Ocean through the Strait of Hormuz and lies between Iran to the northeast and the Arabian Peninsula to the southwest. The Shatt al-Arab river delta forms the northwest shoreline.

Baghdad Capital of Iraq

Baghdad is the capital of Iraq. The population of Baghdad, as of 2016, is approximately 8,765,000, making it the largest city in Iraq, the second largest city in the Arab world, and the second largest city in Western Asia.


Saddam with the Shah Saddam & Shah (1975).png
Saddam with the Shah

In 1973, Iraq started negotiating with Iran, hoping that it would stop its support to the Kurdish rebels. In late April, a meeting was held in Geneva between the countries' foreign ministers. Iraqi representatives insisted on reactivating the 1937 treaty, which gives most of Shatt al-Arab to Iraq, but Iranian representatives refused. [10] After the discussions failed, meetings were held between the two countries. Mohammed Reza Pahlavi decided to show no flexibility, and was determined to take control over exactly half of Shatt al-Arab. After the Shatt al-Arab discussions were made, Iraq started discussing ending the Iranian support to the Kurds. [11]

Geneva Place in Switzerland

Geneva is the second-most populous city in Switzerland and the most populous city of the Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Situated where the Rhône exits Lake Geneva, it is the capital of the Republic and Canton of Geneva.

In May 1974, Iraq and Iran started a committee to mark 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. [12] Talks continued between the two countries sporadically, because Iraq was reluctant to give up his territorial demands. Iran started increasing its support of the Kurds, which led the Iraqi Army to fold. Saddam Hussein and Mohammed Reza Pahlavi attended the OPEC summit on 6 March 1975 in Algiers, where they agreed on an agreement and signed it with the mediation of Houari Boumédiène.

The 1974 Arab League summit was a meeting of Arab leaders held in Rabat, Morocco in 1974. Leaders to twenty Arab countries were present, including King Hussein of Jordan and Anwar Sadat of Egypt, together with representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). A unanimous resolution was passed which, for the first time, declared the PLO to be the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people." Furthermore, the Arab League resolved that the "oil-rich Arab states ... [provide] multi-annual financial aid to the [states in confrontation with Israel] and the PLO."

Hussein of Jordan King of Jordan

Hussein bin Talal reigned as King of Jordan from 11 August 1952 until his death. According to Hussein, he was a 40th-generation direct descendant of Muhammad as he belonged to the Hashemite family which has ruled Jordan since 1921.

Iraqi Army land warfare branch of Iraqs military

The Iraqi Army, officially the Iraqi Ground Forces, is the ground force component of the Iraqi Armed Forces, having been active in various incarnations throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. It was known as the Royal Iraqi Army up until the coup of July 1958.

The agreement was important to Iraq in order to end the Kurdish War and to end the violence near Shatt al-Arab with Iran. It was also in Iran's interest because the Iraqi Army had taken control of many Kurdish areas, in summer 1974, and the Kurdish rebels had failed to get them back. Also Mohammed Reza Pahlavi did not want the Iranian Army to get too involved in conflict, avoiding a full-scale war with Iraq.


From left to right: Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Houari Boumediene and Saddam Hussein 1975 Algiers Agreement.jpg
From left to right: Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Houari Boumédiène and Saddam Hussein

The Algiers Agreement determined that the border between Iraq and Iran in Shatt al-Arab will be the centerline (thalweg) of it. [13] The border will be determined accordingly to the Treaty of Constantinople (1913) to relinquish its relations to Arab areas in Western Iran. Areas of Iraq are intended to provide some strategic depth was missing from an Iranian attack. In addition, the two countries will "commit themselves to maintain close and effective supervision over their common boundary to end insidious nature intrusions from every possible source." In other words, Iran is undertaking the possibility of stopping their support to the Kurds. The both countries agreed to return to being two good neighboring countries. 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 borders. On 17 March, the protocol between the two countries was signed by the two foreign ministers. The protocol states that the two countries undertakes re-mark the border.

On 13 June 1975, another treaty was signed in Baghdad by Iraq's and Iran's foreign ministers. It involved many parts about conflicts between them and the placement of the borders and its changes. The treaty is called "Iraq-Iran international borders and good neighborly relations".


Iraq and Iran formed a joint commission to mark the boundary between the two countries. They set up headquarters in all over the border. The commission ended marking the border on 26 December 1975 with the signing of a joint declaration of intents. [14] Iran pulled back all of its soldiers from Iraq and sealed the borders, after stopping the support of the Kurds, suddenly, without any declaration. Iran also requested the CIA and the Mossad to end the military support of the Kurdish rebels. Most of the people thought that after the end of international support, the Iraqi government would negotiate with the Kurds, but the Vice-Chairman of Revolutionary Command Council, Saddam Hussein, launched an aggressive campaign against the rebels to end them forever. Mohammed Reza Pahlavi interfered and succeeded in establishing a cease fire, but on 1 April, the government relaunched the campaign. After many battles, the Iraqi Armed Forces finally defeated the rebels and ended the rebellion. More than 100,000 Kurdish refugees fled to Iran and Turkey with their leader, Mustafa al-Barzani, [15] only to come back with another much more violent rebellion in 1978. [16]


In 1979, the Islamic Revolution in Iran made Khomeini the country's leader. Khomeini wanted to "spread the revolution to the Islamic world", including Iraq to free its people from the "dictatorship." Iraq abolished the Algiers Agreement on 17 September 1980, which led to the longest war in the region in the 20th century, the Iran–Iraq War. The war lasted 8 years until the United Nations Security Council Resolution 619 ended the war and returned both parties to the Algiers Agreement of 1975.

See also

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  1. UN Treaty Series Vol. 1017, 1985, full text of the treaty and delimitation description Archived September 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine .
  2. 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 . Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  3. Krash, Ephriam; Rautsi, Inari (1991). Saddam Hussein: A Political Biography. pp. 67–75.
  4. The introduction in Genocide in Iraq: The Anfal Campaign Against the Kurds (Human Rights Watch Report, 1993).
  5. "Iraq Kurd Revolt 1974–1975". Wars of the World. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  6. Abdulghani, J. M. (1984). Iraq and Iran: The Years of Crisis. London. p. 142.
  7. 1 2 Rookdsmn, Anthony; Wagner, Abraham (1998). Iraq-Iran War.
  8. 1 2 Bengio, Ofra (2012). The Kurds of Iraq: Building A State Within A State.
  9. Pipes, Daniel. "A Border Adrift: Origins of the Iraq-Iran War". New Weapons. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  10. Report of United States embassy in Baghdad to the State Department, 16 May 1973
  11. Report of United States embassy in Tehran to the State Department, 9 June 1973
  12. Kutchera, Chris (1979). Le Mouvement national Kurde. Paris. pp. 322–323.
  13. 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
  14. "International Boundary Study". Office of Geographer Bureau of Intelligence and Research (164). 13 July 1978.
  15. 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.
  16. Sluglett, M. Farouk (1984). Not Quite Armageddon: Impact of the War on Iraq. p. 24.

Coordinates: 29°51′54″N48°45′07″E / 29.86500°N 48.75194°E / 29.86500; 48.75194