Iraq has begun deliveries of crude oil from Kirkuk to Iran, while Tehran will export a similar amount to Iraqi ports on its southern border, Reuters reported.

Between 30,000 and 60,000 barrels per day (b/d) of Kirkuk crude will be delivered by truck to Darreh Shahr in southwestern Iran. The two countries plan to build a pipeline as an alternative to using trucks.

Iran is looking to strengthen its ties with Iraq as it faces growing pressure from the US following its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement.

The deal allows the Iraqi government to resume sales of Kirkuk crude, which stopped after Iraqi forces retook the fields from Kurdish forces in October 2017.