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ON THIS DAY

22 September 1980: War breaks out between Iran and Iraq. Three weeks of border clashes between Iran and Iraq appear to have finally erupted into all-out war. Iraq has bombed several Iranian air and military supply bases, including Tehran’s international airport. The rise in hostilities comes after Iraq tore up a 1975 border agreement with Iran over sovereignty of the Shatt al-Arab waterway. The southern end of the river forms part of the border between the two countries, leading into the Persian Gulf, and is a vital supply line for oil to the West. Iraqi and Iranian ships exchanged fire in the disputed estuary yesterday and Iraq claimed to have sunk eight Iranian patrol boats. Iranian reports say Iraqi forces shelled the Iranian naval base of Khorramshahr, 20 miles south of Abadan, and site of the world’s largest oil refinery. There are also reports of ground forces advancing into surrounding Iranian territory. Iraqi officials say Iranian guns hit Iraqi economic installations in the Shatt al-Arab waterway. Some reports say they fired at an Iraqi oil reservoir in the Basra area in southern Iraq and set it on fire. Iraq has announced the call-up of all army, police, public security and customs reservists.

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