Shatt al-Arab

A body of water between the point where the rivers Tigris and Euphrates meet and the Gulf, the last 100 km of which form the disputed border between Iran and Iraq. Several cities and towns have been built along its shores, going southward: Basra (Iraq), Korramshar (Iran), Abadan (Iran) and Fao (Iraq).

Before 1847, the Bahmanshir – a secondary branch of the Shatt Al-Arab flowing to the East – formed the border between the Ottoman Empire and Persia. The Erzurum Treaty (1847) put the Abadan island under Iranian rule but kept the whole Shatt Al-Arab under Ottoman sovereignty.

In 1937, due to the development of the city of Abadan and following a compromise, the Iran-Iraq border was adjusted to pass through the middle of the watercourse for a distance of 6 1/2 km in front of the town.

After a number of incidents between the two countries, the Algiers Agreement of 1975 settled the border in the middle of the Shatt Al-Arab along the 100 km between Korramshar and the sea.

This agreement was unilaterally denounced by Iraq in 1980 after Khomeini’s accession to power.