Donald Trump falsely claimed Iran is “taking over the oil” in Iraq. Experts told us Iran does not control any Iraqi oil fields, and we could find no evidence of it.
In fact, despite its political instability, Iraq produced and exported a record amount of crude oil last year, and it has reclaimed smaller oil fields in northern Iraq that had been taken by the terrorist Islamic State group, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS.
“Iraq’s oil is still the property of the people of Iraq,” said Jim Krane, a fellow at the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University who is an expert in geopolitical aspects of energy.
Trump spoke about Iraq on CNN’s “State of the Union,” where he once again claimed without evidence that he opposed the Iraq war before it started because he felt it would destabilize the Middle East. “I was against it from before it started,” Trump said.
As we’ve written, there is no public record of his opposition before the war started March 19, 2003. In fact, Trump is on record as giving a halfhearted endorsement for going to war with Iraq six months before it started. (“Yeah, I guess so,” he said when asked by radio personality Howard Stern.) Our timeline of Trump’s comments on the war show he was an early critic once the war started, but on the grounds that it was financially wasteful — not because it would upset the balance of power in the Middle East.
Anchor Jake Tapper challenged Trump to produce the evidence of his pre-war opposition. Trump responded by saying, “I think there is evidence. I will see if I can get it.”
It was in this context that Trump made his claim that Iran is “taking over the oil” in Iraq.
Trump, June 5: So, I was against the war a long time ago, and it destabilized the Middle East. And that’s exactly what I said was going to happen. I also said Iran will take over Iraq, because we ruined the balance of those two militarily. We destroyed — we knocked out one of the two balancing prongs. And Iran is taking — as sure as you’re sitting there, Iran is taking over Iraq. They’re taking over the oil. They’re taking over everything.
Trump’s campaign did not respond when we asked it to explain Trump’s comments. It may be that he was talking about what may happen in the future, but Trump used the present tense that “Iran is taking over Iraq” and that “they’re taking over the oil” — and none of that is happening, experts tell us.
We reached out to Middle East experts to ask about Iran-Iraq relations in general and Iraqi oil.
Read more at Factcheck.org
Just because this is happening quietly, doesn’t mean it is NOT happening:
Iraqi Oil Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi [Adil Abd Al-Mahdi] met with Mr. Kamal Kharrazi, the Head of the Foreign Relations Strategic Council in the office Mr. Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Iran.
At the meeting on Tuesday they discussed development of relations in the energy sector.