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Iraq overtakes Iran in oil output for the first time in 2 decades

Iraq beats out Iran in oil production for the first time since the two countries were at war.

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An Iraqi worker examines gas emissions from an oil pipe at a refinery in Baghdad. (Muhannad Fala'ah/Getty Images)

Iraq has overtaken Iran in oil output for the first time in two decades, according to today's Monthly Oil Market Report, said Bloomberg.

Iran, reeling from a fresh round of EU sanctions that went into effect July 1, saw its output fall to its lowest level in 20 years, reported Reuters.

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The data released today by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) shows Iraq pumping 2.984 million barrels a day in June, compared to Iran's 2.963 million, said Bloomberg. The producer group had to rely on secondary sources for Iran, because Tehran did give OPEC any oil statistics for June -- a first this year. 

Reuters said the Islamic Republic has been "reluctant" to provide information about its oil industry since being targeted by new economic restrictions. The sanctions are meant to discourage the nation's nuclear program, which Western countries fear is being used to make a bomb. Iran says the program is purely for civilian purposes.

Also today, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei downplayed the effect of the sanctions, telling a women's conference in Tehran that the nation "has stood up to all plots and sanctions and has advanced to the extent that today we are 100 times stronger compared with 30 years ago," according to Reuters.

"These days Westerners are being sensational about sanctions but they don't understand that they themselves vaccinated Iran through their sanctions imposed over the last 30 years," Khamenei said

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120711/iraq-overtakes-iran-oil-output-the-first-time-2-decades