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Iraqi Lawmakers Call For Talks To Reopen Saudi Pipeline

An Iraqi security guard walks along a pipeline at a refinery near the Umm Qasr port in the southern city of Basra.
BAGHDAD -- Iraq's parliamentary committee on oil and energy has called for negotiations aimed at reopening an oil pipeline to Saudi Arabia that was decommissioned in the wake of Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Lawmakers say Iraq's Oil Ministry must immediately consider diversifying its export channels so it can divert shipments in case of increased tensions in the region.

Much of Iraq's oil exports are now loaded onto oil tankers at its southern port of Basra.

Those tankers must pass through the Strait of Hormuz, which Iran has threatened to block in response to sanctions on its own oil exports.

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, warned earlier this year that Iran had the ability to block the strait "for a period of time."