Military Wiki
Algiers Agreement
File:Iran-Iraq Shatt al-Arab Boundries.jpg
Borders of Shatt al-Arab between Iraq and Iran
Signed 6 March 1975
Location Algiers, Algeria
Negotiators Algeria Houari Boumédiène
Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Signatories Iraq Saddam Hussein
Iran 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.

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.


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]

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,arguing 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]


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]

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 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.


Question book-new.svg

This article does not contain any citations or references. Please improve this article by adding a reference. For information about how to add references, see Template:Citation.

|date= }}

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]


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[]


  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". pp. 112–124. Digital object identifier: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". Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  6. Abdulghani, J. M. (1984). Iraq and Iran: The Years of Crisis. London. p. 142. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Rookdsmn, Anthony; Wagner, Abraham (1998). Iraq-Iran War. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 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". 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". 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. 

External links[]