Subject: Iraqi Clearances, March 15, 1977.
Released by the Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
The R/V Atlantis was recently denied permission to conduct research off the Iraqi coast. The Department contacted our representative in Baghda to determine the reason for the denial. In summary, the Iraqi's appear to have a generally negative attitude towards research off their coast. Research in the Persian Gulf will raise suspicions on the part of Iraqi government officials. Because of its geographic position, Iraq sees the Gulf as an area of strategic sensitivity. No matter how straightforward and innocent such proposals seem to us, the government will be inclined to speculate about our motives and take the "safe" course of denying permission.
The Department will continue to process clearance requests to Iraq but we are not very optimistic. As long as the political relations between our countries remain unsettled, their attitude towards research will probably not change.
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