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Iraqi Shiites Prevent the Kurds From Working On Foreign Oil Contracts

The autonomous Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq has signed 15 exploration and export contracts with 20 international companies

Iraq's Shiites declared invalid Kurdish oil contracts with foreign companies.

"These contracts will be suspended until the oil and gas law is passed," said Abbas al-Bayati, member of parliament for the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, one of Iraq's most powerful Shiite factions.

"When companies or countries sign these contracts, they have to behave according to the law of the country."

The autonomous Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq has signed 15 exploration and export contracts with 20 international companies since it passed its own oil law in August, infuriating the Baghdad government.

Shahristani has angrily denounced the Kurdish authorities for signing the contracts before the national parliament approves a new oil and gas law, declaring them "illegal" and "null and void."

The Kurdish authorities said the Iraqi Oil minister is exceeding his authority and that he should mind his own business.