In particular, the two have disputed control of the Shatt al-Arab, the major waterway connecting the Persian Gulf with the Iranian ports of Khorramshahr and Abadan, and the Iraqi port of Basra.
In 1847 a treaty was signed that established the Shatt as a boundary between Iraq and Iran (then the Ottomans and the Persians, respectively).
Finally, in June 1980, the two nations severed relations.
Between June and September 1980, 193 clashes occurred along the Iran-Iraq border.
Iran had built new oil facilities on Kharg Island in the Gulf.The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency's mission is to provide the fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel from past conflicts to their families and the nation.Within this mission, we search for missing personnel from World War II (WWII), the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Gulf Wars, and other recent conflicts.The Iranian army was still in disarray and radical Marxists were still battling the religious fundamentalists in parts of the country.From Saddam's vantage point, the timing seemed right to make a move.