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Despite Washington’s restless efforts to create a gap between Iran and Iraq, the new Iraqi government continues to value close ties with the Islamic Republic. As Baghdad refuses to accept unilateral American sanctions against Tehran, Iranian foreign minister is due to visit Iraq to enhance political and economic interactions.
کد خبر: ۸۶۶۳۰۶
تاریخ انتشار: ۱۳ دی ۱۳۹۷ - ۲۰:۱۰ 03 January 2019

Tabnak – Despite Washington’s restless efforts to create a gap between Iran and Iraq, the new Iraqi government continues to value close ties with the Islamic Republic. As Baghdad refuses to accept unilateral American sanctions against Tehran, Iranian foreign minister is due to visit Iraq to enhance political and economic interactions.

In this vein, the Iraqi foreign minister says his country is “not obliged” to abide by unilateral US sanctions against Iran, stressing that Baghdad is considering options to bypass those bans and maintain trade ties with its neighbor.

“These sanctions, the siege, or what is called the embargo, these are unilateral, not international. We are not obliged [to follow] them,” Mohamed Ali al-Hakim told reporters on Wednesday.

He said Baghdad is looking into possible options to keep bilateral trade routes open, including “dealing in Iraqi dinars in bilateral trade” and creating a fund for payments to Iran.

The current level of annual bilateral trade between Iran and Iraq stands at $12 billion. The two neighbors are seeking to raise that figure to $20 billion in the near future.

Iraq shares a 1,450-kilometer border with Iran. The Arab country relies heavily on Iranian natural gas to feed its power stations, importing almost 1.5 billion standard cubic feet per day. Iraq also imports electricity and a wide range of goods from Iran.

Meanwhile, it’s reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif plans to visit India and Iraq in coming days. Heading a large economic delegation, Zarif is slated to travel to India at the official invitation of South Asian country’s officials. The top diplomat said representatives of Iran’s private sector would have an active presence in the trip.

After visiting India, Zarif is planned to go to Iraq and hold talks with senior officials of the Arab country on issues of mutual interest. The visits would come against the backdrop of Iran’s efforts to boost its foreign trade in the US sanctions era.

On December 20, the US granted Baghdad a 90-day extension to a waiver on abiding by the sanctions that were re-imposed on the Islamic Republic in November.

Although Iraq faces possible censure by the US if it fails to cease its trading with Iran by the end of the waiver period, it seems that the country is geared to continue relations with Iran.

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