Flames emerge from flare stacks at the oil fields in Kirkuk, Iraq October 18, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani
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After helping Iraq stifle a Kurdish push for independence, Iran is now positioning itself to take control of oil exports from the region's giant Kirkuk field, with the first deliveries expected within days, officials and trading sources said. In the weeks since September's failed Kurdish independence referendum, Iraq has agreed for the first time to divert crude from Kirkuk province, which it retook from the Kurds, to Iran, where it will supply a refinery in the city of Kermanshah.Baghdad and Tehran have also revived a project to build a pipeline to carry oil from Iraq's Kirkuk fields to central Iran and onward for export from the Gulf.The PUK wanted to export oil from Kirkuk to Iran.After the referendum, the KDP accused the PUK of striking a deal with Iran to withdraw from Kirkuk, which the PUK denies.The recapture of Kirkuk was coordinated with Soleimani and left Iraqi government troops in control of half of all Kurdish oil output.To stop the losses, Iraq and the PUK resumed talks with Iran, according to Iraqi and Kurdish officials.
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